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View Full Version : any advice on developing fine motor skills and hand strength?



AmyinWI
02-22-2012, 08:48 PM
my ds needs to work on these areas.
It's hard to get him to cooperate, because he only likes some activities and others he just refuses to do. :unsure:

He has low muscle tone(down syndrome) so getting him to grasp anything with a lot of strength is tough. It seems to be on his own terms. For example: if he is holding a favorite toy and I try to take it, he will hold on with all his might.
But trying to get him to squeeze play dough or clay is nearly impossible. I think it has to do with the textures he doesn't like.

Same for fine motor, he has no interest in holding a crayon or pencil. He will scribble a few times and throw it. Trying to get him to pick up small objects is pretty impossible as well.
any suggestions?

Lisalyn
02-22-2012, 09:22 PM
Does he like to crumple paper? :lol: I know my boys like the sound and the action of crumpling paper. You can start with thin paper like phone book pages and move to thicker paper. Use both hands, working to crumpling a full sheet with one hand.

Fine motor-we did coin translation-we used a coffee can, cut a slit in the lid, then used large round pattern blocks, eventually moving to small round chips and smaller slit in the lid. Pick up the block/chip and push it through the slit like a piggy bank.

Hope this helps.

Jennifer in VA
02-24-2012, 07:05 AM
some of the following you son might not like, given what you've mentioned, but this is pulling from the recesses of my brain. Our oldest has has o/t isssues all his life it seems.


thinking pudding, play doh, etc. (make snakes, balls, marbles, etc. either one handed or with both)
sidewalk chalk
paint the sidewalk with water and a paint brush; saw a recipe to make colored paint for the driveway somewhere, I'll see if I can find it
squirt guns or spray bottles - have him help clean windows by spraying water and wiping it off - I know it creates more work, but I have had to let a lot of that sort of stuff go in order to help oldest get ahead
sort a pile of coins by picking them up, one at a time, and putting into proper pile
use a close pin to grasp a penny and flip it over (or start just using fingers)
roll a pencil across the table, slowly, using different fingers
use a stress ball to squeeze and release all fingers
cutting paper or multiple layers of paper
lacing boards
lace a string or rope with beads


This is all I can remember from the activity packs our kid had.

CINDY LB OH
02-24-2012, 07:29 AM
What are his favorite toys and things to do?

Does he like stuffed animals and music? Find some of those stuffed animals where you have to squeeze it's hand or tummy and it will talk or play music.

What about a small flashlight with a push button? Or an old cassette player with push buttons, and old tapes to put in and out and play.

Large nuts and bolts to screw together?

Does he like sand? Give him small containers for filling and pouring. If you don't want sand in the house (understandable), you could use colored rice. We like to use lentils... they have a very soft, silky texture. Hide small toys that he has to find and pick out.

Magnets on the refrigerator?

Jill in Monrovia
02-24-2012, 11:33 AM
You didn't mention an age but Tiddlywinks might be something to look into using.

Jill in Monrovia

AmyinWI
02-24-2012, 01:19 PM
he is 4 1/2. due to his autism diagnosis, he won't play with things as they are intended, so that is part of the issue too.

He will push small buttons on things that make noise(like his refrigerator leapfrog toys) or sometimes on animals that make noise when you squeeze the hand.
Mostly every thing that motivates him, has to make a sound, or light up in some way.

He does play with sand, but mostly to fling it around, not to dump ,pour, make castles,etc.
He has no interest in things like lacing, or drawing, painting,working puzzles etc. most of his play is not very purposeful. I don't know how to get him to WANT to do these things.
see my dilemma??

Angela in MT
02-24-2012, 02:03 PM
Wow Amy! We are in the exact same boat as you with our dd. Same dxs and everything!

One thing that our OT has us do is use those pop beads. Pulling them apart really strengthens the hands. We stand behind her to help and make sure she doesn't just throw them.

Also, as you probably know, muscle strength starts at a person's core and flows out to the extremities. Our dd has ok core strength, but poor tone in her arms, hands, and fingers. To that end we have started doing PT in the pool. We are doing it in the pool because she has so little interest in normal toys, appropriate play, etc. We just started but so far I am pleased!

Another thing we do is have her wheelbarrow walk around the house to build arm strength.

HTH!

TonyaP
02-24-2012, 02:36 PM
Duplo, Lego, or some of the other building blocks that link together might be helpful.

Maybe something like this:
http://www.littletikes.com/kids-toys/classic-wee-waffle-blocks-bucket-assortment

How about a train set with a track you put together. The wooden Thomas trains don't make noise, but there are plastic sets that are more interactive and other brands. My little guys get a workout putting the track in different formations and running the trains around. Some of the sets have push button actions on the trains as well.

CINDY LB OH
02-24-2012, 04:39 PM
he is 4 1/2. due to his autism diagnosis, he won't play with things as they are intended, so that is part of the issue too.

He will push small buttons on things that make noise(like his refrigerator leapfrog toys) or sometimes on animals that make noise when you squeeze the hand.
Mostly every thing that motivates him, has to make a sound, or light up in some way.

He does play with sand, but mostly to fling it around, not to dump ,pour, make castles,etc.
He has no interest in things like lacing, or drawing, painting,working puzzles etc. most of his play is not very purposeful. I don't know how to get him to WANT to do these things.
see my dilemma??
:yes: I can see your problem.

The thing is, you can't make him want to, but you can provide experiences for him. Does he tolerate hand-over-hand?

AmyinWI
02-24-2012, 07:47 PM
:yes: I can see your problem.

The thing is, you can't make him want to, but you can provide experiences for him. Does he tolerate hand-over-hand?

at times he does. Depends on what the activity is.

AmyinWI
02-24-2012, 07:49 PM
Wow Amy! We are in the exact same boat as you with our dd. Same dxs and everything!

One thing that our OT has us do is use those pop beads. Pulling them apart really strengthens the hands. We stand behind her to help and make sure she doesn't just throw them.

Another thing we do is have her wheelbarrow walk around the house to build arm strength.

HTH!
DS does love pop beads... he usually just likes to shake them around and watch them wiggle. pulling apart is something I've done with him before- have to remember to do that more. It sure does aggravate him when we pull them apart though!:lol:

Tiffany
02-25-2012, 08:07 PM
Would he like using a toy hammer to hammer things? There are the store bought toys like the old-fashioned wooden bench with the "nail" pegs to hammer through, or the balls that you hammer through that roll down the ramp. You can use foam puzzles and hammer in the pieces. You can also use pieces of styrofoam (that come in boxes of appliances or whatever) and hammer golf tees into it. My son loves this.

Tiffany
02-25-2012, 08:12 PM
Just had another thought~ does your little guy like to play with water toys that you squeeze and the water squirts out? Some are softer and easier to squeeze, others are more firm so he could use whatever amount of strength he was ready for. He could do this outside or in the bath.

amanda b
02-27-2012, 12:50 PM
You said he doesn't like to do fine motor activities like lacing, beads, playdo, etc- but will he tolerate doing them if he has a "reward" at the end of the activity or during it? For example, if you say, set out 3 activities you want him to do in the morning- pop beads, lacing, cutting, then encourage him to do them with you and he gets a reward at the end of each thing? My dd's speech therapist used to do that- they'd do an activity of the therapist's choice for maybe 10 min, then she got to play with a reward thing (special toy she really liked, or do a sticker page, etc) for a few minutes, then back to the therapist's activities. kwim?

Does he get OT out of the house now or in-home throught EI or CPSE? If so, your therapist should have a bunch of great ideas, if not, he should qualify for free services due to his DS diagnosis.

There are 2 books called: The Out of Sync Child, and the Out of Sync Child Has Fun- the second one lists a TON of fun OT activities for different sensory experiences- most libraries have them, but I've seen them cheap on ebay too.

Angela in MT
02-29-2012, 10:29 AM
Do you think he would like WikkiStix?

http://www.amazon.com/Eight-Wikki-Stix-Primary-Colors/dp/B000GL1DJ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330532931&sr=8-1

Hollie in SC
02-29-2012, 12:27 PM
I was just thinking of Noah's OT from the past 5 years. One thing Noah hated was her therapy putty--like really firm playdoh. Being the child of habit he was, he'd go into her room and get the putty and pull it out for a few seconds and put it away. SUCH the control freak. If he was going to have to use it, then he wanted it on his SHORT time frame and OVER. ;)

One of Noah's faves was a pegboard set his EI had. I think it was a Lauri set and that Rainbow has some. Hmm...I only see them in the Toddler Tote. However, someone else might have them. :)

amanda b
03-10-2012, 07:01 PM
We just got this stuff called "thinking putty" and it comes in different colors that change color after you play with them awhile- from the heat. It's basically theraputty, but more fun:)

I ordered it on amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Aarons-Thinking-Putty-Hypercolor/dp/B003VPOFTI/ref=sr_1_3?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1331427744&sr=1-3