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After the ninth annual School Game Playing Day, educators are embracing this method all over again, writes Damian Corless:
board games are an integral part of the teaching process …, helping the children learn English, maths and a range of life skills.
Math helps with problem solving skill development. When kids play Monopoly, they could be facing a situation where they are behind the other players and they want to get ahead. The child can start reasoning if buying a piece of property would help him get ahead or should he take a different action? he’ll need to count how far behind he is and how many steps forward he wants to be.
The ability to identify and name basic colors can be improved with board games.
“A lot of junior and senior infants don’t know their colours when they start school. A lot of children would have difficulty saying that’s red or that’s blue. They might have difficulty if you say to them: ‘Can you pick up the red counter?’
“Board games are good for developing matching skills, where a child learns to match pieces that are of a kind. They’re good for developing grouping skills. They’re good for learning how to predict outcomes. What are the chances of this or that outcome? That’s a valuable maths skill.
“When it comes to learning English, the children have to read and understand the rules of the games. As they play, they have to express their oral language because the games demand they communicate with the other players.
“For the very young children board games help with early literacy skills. The movement of the pieces on the board involves hand-to-eye co-ordination which helps in early literacy skills where hand-eye co-ordination is vital in turning pages, pointing to words and moving along step-by-step.”
Board games have many benefits from motor coordination, social skills, to emotional regulation. It does not require expensive equipment and can be enjoyable for adults and kids.
Source: Teaching life skills using board games? It’s child’s play . . . – Features, Education – Independent.ie.
The primary cause of fine motor control problems is a lack or over abundance in muscle mass. A child having high muscle tone may make mistakes based on the over activation of muscles, resulting in activities being sloppy or even clumsy in nature. A child having low muscle tone is quite common; a child with low muscle tone may struggle to maintain even the smallest control of a pencil or even scissors. Small feats like finger movement may prove to be an extreme effort for a child with low muscle tone.
It can be said that genetic and environmental factors can lead to fine motor skill problems. While pregnant, a mother exposed to alcohol and drugs can be a big factor in the development of a baby. Alcohol can directly affect the neurons in the brain. If a baby is born premature the connection of the neurons in the brain may be disturbed. The more premature a baby is the risk for this problem rises. Disturbing the connection of neurons can lead to difficulties with attention span and/or self control in fine motor skill development. Even smoking has been known to have negative effects on motor skills.
Treatment with pediatric occupational therapist can greatly improve a child’s fine motor skills with the right therapy geared to successful treatment of fine motor problems. The pediatric occupational therapist may try two approaches in the treatment of your child. The first is a relatively general approach dealing with the assessment of their sensory development. How a child moves and reacts to stimuli. Finding that underlying factor helps them form a second approach designed specifically for fine tuning the way they perform more complex tasks using fine motor skills. Teaching them how to accomplish and fine tune their skills can greatly improve motor function.
Being that no one method is successful for all patients a Pediatric Occupational Therapist may also treat a child in these areas:
– Their finger strength, hand strength, hand position and stability
– Overall pencil grip and control
– Control of the wrist and forearm
– Finger movement
– The spatial organization of space and letter formation
– Speed and dexterity
– The isolated movement required for tweezers and scissors
It is necessary for parents to take an active role in their child’s treatment for the continuation of improvement outside of the pediatric occupational therapists office. For at home improvement of fine motor skills the occupational therapist may suggest activities like drawing (sample activity), coloring and paper cutting art involving cutting out paper chains and making paper snowflakes. Drawing can improve how neatly the child can draw lines and shapes, improving the overall appearance of letters and shapes all together; paired with coloring this helps the eyes determine where to stop by staying within the lines in shapes and forms. Tracking movement is one of the key factors in fine motor skills. There are also toys and games available that are geared for the improvement of fine motor skills.
Developing and improving fine motor skills can take a lot of time but with the proper guidance from a pediatric occupational therapist you can make all the difference in the way your child learns and perceives life in general. Children with fine motor skill problems can suffer greatly in school and even social situations. Therefore it is important to identify any fine motor control issues and begin an occupation therapy program to help them develop these skills as quickly as possible.
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Fine motor skills are important to a child’s development. Not having these skills can interfere with school and home activities. It is important to understand the difference between fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are those skills that require smaller, more delicate movement; usually using the smaller motion with an emphasis on the coordination of those movements. Gross motor skills are those skills using the larger muscles in the body, those to run, jump and move about.
Concerns with a child’s fine motor skills can be treated by a therapist with a strong focus in the area of pediatric occupational therapy. A child with fine motor problems may become easily frustrated in school when having to copy things from the blackboard or in art class because he or she may have problems either writing neatly, staying within the lines when coloring or cutting out shapes.
A child’s motor planning and speed of movement can be greatly affected in cases of fine motor control development. Motor planning involves the visual detection of motion and errors in movements. For a child’s movement to be effective things must be timed adequately and fine motor skills require a certain amount of attention and concentration as well. What is more important is the order in which certain movement is made to accomplish a task. Managing complex activity using the smaller muscle groups may be compromised when dealing with fine motor skill problems. School age children face more fine motor skill problems than most other age groups, making pediatric occupational therapy a very important step in the treatment of this problem.
Children with fine motor skill problems may present other behaviors as well. At times a child may have underlying issues that could be associated with fine motor skill problems. They may actually present problems with articulation of words and sounds due to the fact that fine motor control has to do with tongue movement as well; being the tongue is a smaller muscle. Fine motor control struggles can be due to sensory problems in the brain; the child may have an aversion to being touched and being introduced to new things. In these cases the child’s ability to behave and control their fine motor skills may be hampered by the over stimulation of the senses, causing frustration and clumsiness.
Children experiencing fine motor skill problems may present the following issues:
– Clumsy pencil grasp (pincer grasp activities)
– Poor scissor skills
– Not able to grasp and release things in a controlled manner
– Cannot hold small objects or use tools such as pencils and scissors
– Dislikes completing mazes and dot to dots due to being easily frustrated with them
– Has problems copying from the blackboard in class