When it comes to the development of fine motor skills we work hard to ensure that your child is making the best possible progress. Fine motor skills lead to greater independent living skills. What do we mean by fine motor skills anyway? In essence we as Occupational Therapists are trained to focus on the improved coordination of the smaller muscles in the upper body. Controlled movements related to the hands and fingers are central to many essential life skills. We work on the skills required to eat with a fork or spoon, write with any kind of utensil, fasten any kind of button, tie shoes or open doors.
Lagging in fine motor skill development stems from insufficient hand strength and weak overall coordination of motor skills. Depending on early child hood experiences fine motor skills can vary greatly for preschool aged children. For example if a child is able to engage in activities that promote learning how to cut with scissors that child can successfully cut a strip of paper as a toddler. Different levels of capability and various limitations of experience in early childhood can create significant fine motor skill delays. Pediatric Occupational Therapy Stafford professionals understand that development of these skills is often accomplished at an irregular rate. It is also true that there is a well-defined process requiring base skills in order to progress into more complex fine motor skill development.
Our well-trained and experienced Occupational Therapy team knows how to teach those skills and build on the learning in order to develop optimal fine motor skills. There are general age ranges where most children are able and should be encouraged to perform certain tasks. These tasks associated with fine motor skills include things such as drawing lines with a crayon held with the fingers and not in a fist. At a very young age such as two years old a child who has had experience and practice can take off and put on shoes and eat properly with a spoon. These activities can be encouraged at home. With practice, consistent expectations and patience skills can be established at an early age establishing the strongest fine motor skill baseline possible.
Even playing games can help developing these skills. You may play many of these kinds of things with your child already. For example, building with blocks or stringing beads is something that a toddler can enjoy while strengthening fine motor skill muscles at the same time. The long-term goal with these types of games is to work towards helping your child be able to dress and eat independently. Being as capable as possible builds self-esteem and that confidence provides the best platform for motivation to learn more skills. Delays can often be successfully addressed and redirected Occupational Therapy. If you are concerned about any fine motor skill developmental delays you can consult with our OT Specialists. The Occupational Therapist understands the basic benchmarks to be expected for the age and developmental stage of your child. The OT Professional can help you set realistic and attainable fine motor skill goals for your child. The right practice can be fun and rewarding both for the child and for the family.
Our pediatric Speech Therapists understand the power behind using the very best interactive games in order to optimize both language and social development. It is natural for a child to enjoy interacting with the family during a fun board game and not even realize it is speech therapy. A well-designed game is a fun way for your child to learn those vital speech skills without feeling like they are working at all. There are countless games that focus on many social skills while improving language and speech at the same time. If you think about it a game requires skills such as story telling, taking turns, drawing conclusions and expressing or appreciating humor.
One great thing about a well-designed game is that the learning comes so naturally within the family setting at home. For example, there are games intended for those children who are just beginning to learn how to play. These games will be designed in a way that does not require too much in the area of speech therapy. These games are designed with the goals of basic cooperative play including improvement of attention skills. Essentially the games at this level can promote improved understanding of cause and effect while basic vocabulary is introduced and reinforced in a fun, rewarding way. These games may also be the type that introduces the basic concepts associated with shapes, numbers and letters.
Another level of games can add onto the idea of taking turns and improved social skills by adding on more dimensions of thinking and learning to the game. These games can include more storytelling opportunities or word game play. Often these games are more complex, which invites the concept of following established rules. Following directions is an important social skill when it comes to playing games. Some popular games include the Cranium games such as “Hullabaloo”, “Scattegories” and “I Spy.”
Some popular games such as “The Cat In The Hat, I Can DO That!” build confidence as your child learns that they can have fun while building essential language and social skills for life.
There are many games that are great for social and language skill development. Our Speech Therapy Stafford professionals would be happy to provide you with a list of the best games suited to the developmental needs of your child. Who does not love a good night of playing games with the family? You might as well make the most of your time together at home and reinforce those vital speech skills while laughing and making fun memories. Too many people have the misconception that all learning must be done in a stale, controlled environment. The truth is that social and speech learning most often is learned best through the creative implantation of structured fun and games. In order to make the most of this type of speech therapy play invest in the best games on the market today and enjoy the bonding time as you play those favorites over and over again. Feel free to meet with our experts who know the best options for language development for your child.