Very often you will find that a parent with special needs child will have to tackle “fine motor skills” as a delay. Well, it does not really matter much in the array of issues a parent is a firefighting during the initial years. Eventually, as you are inching towards school readiness, this skill holds your child down in ways that you did not anticipate. Ever heard that a child is cognitively ahead however, handwriting holding him/her down in a way that makes them repeat the tracing, legibility goals for a long time! Sometimes to the extent of getting aversive/mislabeled!
Well, I may have something to offer from my personal experience. As a mother to a hyperlexic kid with severe fine motor delays, I found my kid stuck with the “fist” grip for long, like really long. Cutting, gluing, scissor skills were significantly impacted.
After a year or two into intense OT therapies, I learned in my own time researching that fine motor skills are intensely dependent on gross motor skills. This simply means focus on gross motor skills to significantly improve fine motor grip. I then changed the strategy of his therapy goals and included balance, physical activity goals. It seemed to help a bit but not as much. I kept consistently researching tools/aids to support the fine motor. I stumbled on some products that helped make a further difference. I know many of you may use short crayons, fat pencils and this post is not about that.
Heard of wiki stix, please give it a try! This relatively simple product did wonders for my son’s skills. It helps improve visual boundaries which is a pivotal step in progress. Check for yourself, my son went from point A to B within a couple of weeks versus 2 years of doing the specialized therapies with mediocre results.
Get them here on Amazon
Spring scissors- They have been the single most tool to help him deal with his anxiety around scissors. He went from not independently picking scissors to snipping bits of paper within months. The scissor has a spring that helps the hand movements, such that the child does not need to exert in opening the scissor! Helps like anything.
Special assist scissor – Check them on AMZ here
Specialized orthopedic pencil: This one is used in adults after therapy. Try it for sure, it supports the pincer grasp hold like none other I have used. This pencil comes with an inbuilt lead and its V shape helps the kid drop and hold the pencil in a way that trains pincer grasp.
See the pencil here
Use colored glue: More often than not a kid with sensory issues may not have any idea on the activity of gluing and where it spreads on paper. This one helps set the expectation.
Be patient and believe that it will come along, fail fast, and don’t stop experimenting on new ideas.