Visual Art Teacher's comments

by Linda Rodriguez
(Mundelein, IL 60060)

I teach art in a K-2 school, in a very affluent area. All of the teachers have commented on the lack of fine motor skills in some of the children, especially Kindergartners, and how prevalent this problem is. The lack of fine motor skills seems to affect many different areas, not just art, but it has caused me to alter the materials I use and the processes we create with. I am writing a paper for my Masters' Degree on the role of the visual arts in the development of fine motor skills. I could use any info, data, etc., you OT people have on the recent epidemic of poor fine motor skills in young-elementary aged children and the probable causes.

At the school I teach in, teachers have been blaming the prevalence of computer play in young, especially affluent children. What are your ideas about the causes? Are children just delayed developmentally for longer periods of time than in previous generations? Linda Rodriguez

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Toddlers at Work
by: Brenda

Lack of fine motor, or the hand/brain connection, is a product of the disconnect between the processes involved in making some thing and the final products. meals come out of the refrigerator, go into the microwave, then the table. opposed to picking the vegetables, washing them, cooking....

Infants and Toddlers at Work: Using Reggio-Inspired Materials to Support Brain Development (Early Childhood Education) has a lot of opinions and suggestions. Fairly high reading level and newer copyright date. Excellent perspective on this topic. Reggio methods explained.

Lots of reasons for poor fine motor skills!
by: OT Mom

Hi there!

Although I currently work in a semi-rural area with children from poorer neighborhoods, I previously worked with more affluent children in private practice in the city.

There was definitely a tendency towards poor fine motor skills in many affluent (or even less affluent) city kids, and we noticed a few trends among them.
Here are a few (in no particular order):

- a cosseted upbringing: parents are concerned about their kids safety and so kids are not playing out at parks and in the streets, and often not even in their own gardens (fear of child snatchers) - and so they are not developing the gross motor skills that are needed as a base for fine motor skills to develop.

- homes that are like those in magazines don't lend themselves well to playdough, finger painting and other messy activities - which are essential for developing tactile perception (another base for fine motor development - see my article on the essential bases for fine motor skills at

-computer games and tv games don't lend themselves to developing the hand muscles in the same way as does play with construction toys, dressing dolls and the like. Sadly computer games are "neater" and keep the child out of sight and out of mess for longer!

Please feel free to contact me on my website if you would like more information!

Kind regards,
Tracey le Roux (OT Mom)

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