Monday, June 6, 2016

Fine vs Gross Motor Skills Part 1.

During the fall semester, I will be starting an afterschool program for students with special needs. The goal is to improve gross and fine motor skills. Research has shown that there is “some degree of motor dysfunction in all of the young children with [Autism Spectrum Disorder] ASD as well as other disorders, with delays in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, or both”.1 Today, we will focus on fine motor skills.

A simple definition for Fine Motor Skills is simply small movements. Examples include: spreading peanut butter on a slice of bread or opening small packages. Throughout this program, I want to teach these students how to utilize their fine motor skills to independently achieve daily tasks.

Here are a few categories that will be focused on in order to improve these skills:
  • Hand-eye coordination. To improve hand-eye coordination, we will play games that require students to reach out and grab objects. This can include anything that uses the smaller muscles of the upper extremities and hand to grasp while incorporating the eyes to recognize such objects.
  • Self-care skills. Learning how to work with zippers, use silverware, and open jars will help these children throughout their lives. Playing games to learn these skills will make learning fun and not chore like.  
  • Writing skills. One way to improve writing skills is to put paint in a bag and let the students write on it with their fingers. There is no mess or need for paper. They are able to draw or write for as long as they want.

In conclusion, it has been proven that students who were instructed with activities to improve their fine motor skills progressed faster than those who did not.2 The information found has strengthened the proof that this program is a necessity for the students with disabilities in our area and it has provided a better understanding for how I will structure the program. Stay tuned for the next blog that will discuss gross motor skills.


1Provost, B., Lopez, B. R., & Heimerl, S. (2006, July 26). A Comparison of Motor Delays in Young Children: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delay, and Developmental Concerns. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from

2Rule, A. C., & Stewart, R. A. (2002, September). Effects of Practical Life Materials on Kindergartners' Fine Motor Skills. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from   

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