Fine Motor Delay: More Than Missing Milestones
All children develop differently and therefore reach milestones at different rates. However, those who fail to develop a skill within a reasonable time may be dealing with a fine motor delay.
Fine motor skills are finger and hand abilities that range from holding and manipulating an object to writing and tying shoelaces. Assessing hand-eye coordination (seeing something and responding with the correct movement) is key in identifying a problem, and a speech delay also comes into play since talking requires the fine motor movements of lips, tongue and facial muscles.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these are the red flags to watch out for:
- By 2 months, baby has not “discovered” her hands.
- By 3 months, she does not grab your finger and cannot hold her head up well.
- By 4 months, he does not grab for toys or bring objects to his mouth.
- By 7 months, she reaches with only one hand and has difficulty getting objects into her mouth.
- By 1 year, he is not waving, shaking his head “no,” or pointing to objects.
- By 15 months, she does not seem to know how to use forks, spoons, or other common household objects and is not using a pincer grasp.
- By age 3, he can’t build a tower of more than four blocks, has trouble manipulating small objects, cannot draw a circle, and has limited interest in toys.
Again, many children have typical fine motor skills even if they miss some of these milestones. And those with a delay are often able to learn the skill eventually, just at a later stage than most of their peers. It’s important to keep up with all pediatric checkups so a doctor can assess your child’s muscles and movements to see if there is a concern.
Since fine motor skills rely on the development of physical skills, such as core trunk control and shoulder strength, a delay may be associated with autism or a developmental disability. It could also be caused by dyspraxia, which is when the brain and hands have trouble working together. A doctor can recommend appropriate screenings based on the suspected problem.
Depending on the level of delay, a specialist may be needed to address your child’s situation. But for many, fine motor delays can be addressed through a therapeutic approach.
Building Skills for Life
Creative Health Solutions has been helping children with fine motor delays develop the skills they need to succeed in life for more than 10 years. We are here to assist them in addressing not only the physical but the emotional and social challenges they face every day.
Everyone has different needs, and that is especially true with this type of diagnosis. That’s why we begin with a personal assessment to determine what areas require improvement and their root causes. From there, we address the higher-level functional skills.
We create a developmental learning experience in a fun and collaborative environment. Since our approach is integrated, your child benefits from the very best ideas of the whole team. Creative therapists also connect with and build rapport with each client. Our goal is to provide a warm, caring haven that encourages and supports maximum participation and follow through.