Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne and Online understand how chronic conditions and disabilities can affect motor skills.

Today we take a further look this, with a specific focus on fine motor skills.

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills, or dexterity, is the coordination of small muscles, particularly involving the coordination and precision between the hands and fingers with the eyes. Fine motor skills can also refer to the feet, toes and lips. These skills are often developed in the early years of life however this can be impaired in some individuals. Tasks that can be impacted are things like grasping an object, hand writing, using scissors, buttoning up your shirt and brushing your teeth.

What are gross motor skills?

To compare, gross motor skills are generally easier to learn as they are bigger movements utilising larger muscles such as walking, running or jumping. This is highlighted as fine motor skills and gross motor skills can corelate, i.e if fine motor skills are impaired, it can impact gross motor skills and vice versa.

Why are fine motor skills affected?

Fine motor skills are often affected in people with chronic conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Stroke and Osteoarthritis. Let’s take a look at 2 examples:

  1. Cerebral palsy

Is the loss or impairment of motor function caused by brain damage or unusual development when the child’s brain is still developing, usually before, during or immediately after birth. It effects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Therefore, fine motor skill training is a large aspect of a child’s development in their younger years, and for life.

  1. Parkinson’s disease

Is a progressive neurological illness generally developing later in life, due to the degeneration of the basal ganglia and a lack of dopamine in the brain affecting movement and coordination. Signals cannot be transmitted quick enough and therefore the following symptoms such as tremor of the hands, legs, arms or face and rigidity of limbs and stiff muscles are present. As this is a condition generally developing later in life, most individuals will have developed fine motor skills in their early years, however, lose it as the condition progresses. Therefore, the importance of maintaining fine motor skills is paramount and persisting with a task and continually training it such as buttoning up your shirt or partaking in leisure activities such as sewing or card games is important.

Games to train Fine Motor Skills

There are many fun games which can help with fine motor skills throughout the lifespan. These include, but are not limited to:

 – Puzzles

– Pick up sticks

– ‘Operation’

– ‘Gone fishing’

– Handball

– Playing an instrument i.e piano or guitar

– Video games

– Sewing

– Card games

Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology can help with fine and gross motor skill learning. Our services are available through the NDIS, Medicare, WorkCover, DVA and Privately.

Call 1300 964 002 to enquire.

Written by Angela Vitucci