fine motor activities

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by ad65shorty, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. ad65shorty

    ad65shorty Companion

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    Feb 23, 2006

    I teach a pre-kindergarten group, and I have one little boy who has terrible fine motor skills. He cries whenever we have to cut anything, he holds his pencil with his fist, he avoids any and all choice activities that will strengthen those muscles, etc. I've discussed this with Mom, and she's been working with him at home, but with little luck. Since I'm fairly new at this (teaching preschool), I'm not exactly sure what to do either. I know that boys have a harder time in this area, but I also know there are activities that can be done to help.
    I told Mom I'd do some research and get some ideas on things she can do at home to help him strengthen those skills so he's more prepared for Kindergarten this fall. We discussed lacing cards, cutting, tearing, and puzzles. What else can we do (both at home and at school)?
     
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  3. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Wow! Is there any chance for Occupational therapy? He sounds like an excellent candidate.

    Other than that in the mean time look for scissors that he can use better. There are many different kinds that cut in non traditional ways (found in teacher and therapy catalogs etc). Make sure you explain that you are using them only until he gets stronger or make a deal with him to cut "this much" with the regular scissors before you let him use the special scissors.

    Maybe there are some stretching exercises he can do to warm up/lengthen those muscles, an OT could recommend for sure. But if that isn't an option maybe you could make up a few of your own basic ones. If nothing else it could make him believe it will help and it might boost his confidence about the tasks.
     
  4. ad65shorty

    ad65shorty Companion

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    Feb 23, 2006

    viola, don't they offer OT through the school district (i'm a private preschool)? or is he too young to be offered those services? he's also in speech therapy... would that matter or make him more eligible? what steps do i take for a referral? who do i contact? or does mom do all of that? i'm clueless!! :)
     
  5. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Feb 24, 2006

    oh gosh. I only sub right now and haven't dealt with that. It is offered in the school districts I've worked. If he is getting speech through the district he could still be eligible for OT. He would just need to be evaluated--and it sounds like he would qualify. Ask mom how she got him into speech. I bet the same avenues could get him into OT. Of course if she's doing it privately it doesn't help. If he is getting it through a district and mom is not helpful I'd call the district and find out. Our (in district) teachers refer the students. I don't know how it works for pre k though. Usually it goes unnoticed unless they are in our preschool programs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2006
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  7. Seich30

    Seich30 Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2006

    I don't think that he can get services through the school system for OT, but if his mom will talk to his doctor and get a referral there are private agencies out there that can help. This is often covered by insurance. As far as suggestions, anything that he can manipulate will help--clothespins, tweezers, playdough, small legos, etc.
     
  8. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  9. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    He should be able to get OT services through the local system even tho he is in a private school. We've had students to get speech, ot and pt at their private school because they did live within our county system. Our county system sends a speech teacher to headstart to work with the speech students there that live out of the city limits but go to headstart (it is located in the city school systems juridiction) and the city system sends their speech teach to work with the ones that live in the city limits. (Did that make any sense? After I wrote it is seemed rather long winded... lol)

    I would ask... you never know! Or contact the state dept of education... someone in the special ed dept and ask them.

    Lori
     
  10. ad65shorty

    ad65shorty Companion

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    Feb 24, 2006

    Thanx for your suggestions and help thus far. I will look into OT services through the District (and state, if needed). And I will definitely talk to mom. I guess I didn't realize it could be so "severe." I thought it was something I could "fix" with extra work at home and school. Also, thank you for the links and ideas!
     
  11. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Have his mom make him a cutting bin...a bucket with scrap paper and scissors. Let him cut whenever he wants and whatever he wants over the bucket. Put in various materials other than paper as well, like crepe paper, felt, etc. She can also give him some scissors and some magazines to cut up. Let her know it will make a mess, but that's half the point.

    Have him do transferring exercises with tweezers and various materials. The same can be done with tongs (marshmallows, corn kernals, beans, coins, etc.).

    I agree with getting it checked out, but things should still be done at home and at school to aid him.
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Cutting is hard work. It sounds like this child needs muscle development, not practice on cutting. Find some finger muscle building activities that he likes, and the fine motor skills will come without the tears.

    I would suggest: playdough, ice tongs to pick up (marbles, pom poms, legos, etc.), an old keyboard, a piano, etc.
     
  13. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Cutting IS hard work, but it doesn't mean a child who is having difficulties shouldn't be exposed to it. Practice is key and a child needs exposure to it. Not exposing him to it wont do any good.
     
  14. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Oh, no, JenPooh, I did not mean to not expose him to cutting. I was responding to the fact that he cried during cutting. From his behaviour I assumed he was frustrated due to lack of skills. So, by providing other types of skill building activities, he will develop the skills and muscle control to cut. The whole process of cutting may be too much for him to handle. But, if the process can be broken down for him, it becomes more managable. For instance, a child must be able to move the thumb and pointer finger together and apart before he can cut. Providing opportunities to learn this skill will help him with cutting.
     
  15. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Legally, if he qualified for OT, the public schools HAVE to serve him. Here, our agency that deals with special needs preschoolers is called "Infants and Toddlers" for birth - age 3, and "Child ID" for ages 4 and 5.

    Sometimes, boys especially like board games like Operation and Perfection that both deal with pinching. Burying objects in a mound of silly putty and having them pinch them out is great, too. Any task that makes them use the thumb and forefinger seperately from the rest of the hand muscles is wonderful for developing cutting skills. I'll look at all of my OT stuff and see what else I have...
    Kim
     
  16. 4Lisa

    4Lisa Rookie

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    We have also had experience with OT services in our preschool. Usually age 3 is about when we have had a few begin therapy. I have seen nothing but huge improvements from the few children that I have taught that have had the OT. We have a local agency that specializes in children with special needs and we use them to refer children for both OT, and Speech as well. The agency works with the school districts so we don't have to deal with that aspect, but we give the families the info to begin the process. I hope there is some help available, I am a huge fan of such programs, because I have seen them work wonders on more than one occasion.
     
  17. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I would keep an eye on him. Is he lagging way behind the other children? In how many areas? It could be more than just a fine motor delay. Is he a young 4 or almost 5?
     
  18. Myname

    Myname Comrade

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    How about stringing beads? Or having him work more of his large muscle maybe that needs to be more advanced. I know that developes first then fine motor. if that is the case have him go out and play on the monkey bars and climb, climb, climb.
    i would say engage him in some fun so he doesn't feel pushed.
    Have him pick lint off a sweater or pick up tiny stuff on the floor. Maybe make a fun game out of spinkling cherios on the floor and having to pick them up who can pick up the most the fastest. He would feel more like he was having fun than working.
     
  19. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Ah! I'm sorry I took that the wrong way, blue. I was thinking something completely different. That makes sense the way you explained it now.
     
  20. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    You could also have him string cheerios, fruit loops, etc. Make edible jewlery and a reward could be eating the jewlery after stringing them.
     
  21. Tambra44

    Tambra44 Rookie

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    You could also try cutting a slit in a tennis ball (you can paint it to look like a face and the slits are the mouth) Then have hime practice squeezing the the ball (It will look like he is making the mouth talk) I have found that this is a good activity that kids enjoy to increase strength in their little hands.
     
  22. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    I just scanned through the posts, so I'm not sure if this was mentioned. They make special scissors that make it easier to cut - I think they have a sort of spring action so that when the scissors are squeezed, they come back open on their own. I had a boy in first grade who used them for a while. I'll see if I can find some online to show you what I'm talking about.

    Here's a whole page of special scissors.. I was thinking of the first ones, the self-opening scissors, but the 'squizzers' look great for a beginner!
    http://www.theraproducts.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4716_51666

    Other than that, I was going to suggest playdough as others did.
     
  23. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    On the website... preschoolbystormie.com... she breaks it down into the starting task of tearing, then snipping, fringing, and so on.

    I've also seen OT's take scissors and let the kids cut rolled out snakes of playdough for practice.

    Lori
     
  24. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I really think it might be more than the cutting problem, since he doesn't hold his crayons or pencil correctly either. However, he should be getting some help if he is referred.
    I have those scissors you are talking about Amanda. They are very good .
     
  25. Butterfly4

    Butterfly4 Comrade

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    A suggestion for his Mom to do at home, let him crumple old newspapers into balls. This is excellent for strengthening his hands and fingers. Then they can have a paper snowball fight, or use a laundry basket to shoot the balls in.
     
  26. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Another way to do that would also be to have them try it with only one hand. It builds great small motor control.
     
  27. ad65shorty

    ad65shorty Companion

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    Thanx again! I have so many ideas now that I get to make a new file for them!! And I've included a huge list for mom, too, with your ideas plus some of my own.
    FYI--I know some of you were wondering about his other skills. He's a really smart boy. He's already 5 and is definitely ready for kindergarten in almost every other way! He counts well, he knows almost every letter and sound (he can even spell and recognize the names of every family member!), he knows his colors and shapes, he can make his own patterns, he understands rhyming, he's showing strong interest in putting letters together to make words, he understands simple addition, he's got great listening comprehension (when I read a book), he follows directions well, and is very independent. He's lacking in his fine motor skills, as well as socially. He loses his temper very easily, and if he doesn't get his way, he'll throw a huge tantrum. Because of this, the other kids don't like to play with him. I feel so bad for him! He's also in speech, which I may have mentioned before. Overall though, he's a good kid! Mom was really worried about sending him to kindergarten because of this, but I told her to not hold him back because I feel he's ready in every other way. I hope that was good advice...
    Thanks again! I'll be talking to Mom tomorrow after preschool! I can't wait to show her all your ideas! :)
     
  28. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    shorty, it sounds like you really care and have the situation under control. I think your advice was wise and the kids are lucky to have a caring teacher like you.
     

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