What’s the Difference between “Fine Motor” and “Gross Motor” skills?

Motor skills, which are involved in the muscle movement within a child’s body, are divided into two categories: fine motor and gross motor. What’s the difference between the two and what role do they play in your child’s development? All motor skills require the necessary strength, coordination and planning skills in order to be effective.

Gross motor skills are responsible for the coordinated movement of large muscle groups. We use gross motor skills for things such as sitting, standing, walking, running, and keeping our balance. Gross motor skills are often directly impacted by muscle tone development as strength is a key element to successfully utilizing these skills. Fine motor skills are used when we need to make smaller, more precise movements with our muscles. Grasping and controlling objects, such as writing utensils, and being able to pick up small objects between your thumb and forefinger are examples of ways we use fine motor skills.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s gross motor or fine motor development, it’s always a good idea to speak with your child’s pediatrician and consider scheduling an evaluation for your child. There are many ways that a well-trained therapist can help your child work on these skills in a fun way! The sooner that therapies begin, the sooner your child can develop and use the skills he or she needs to be their best.

Source: https://sciencing.com/definition-gross-fine-motor-skills-6778426.html

Benefits of Yoga for Children

Yoga is a wonderful form of low-impact exercise for people of all ages, but did you know that that it can be especially beneficial for children, including those with special needs? According to a recent article published in Parents Magazine, the positive aspects of yoga-based exercises go well beyond the physical benefits and helps children develop their focus and concentration while also boosting confidence and self-esteem. The focus and concentration that a child practices while balancing and holding poses helps to build their overall focus and concentration skills, which can help them in so many different situations including at school and in other therapy activities. Yoga is a great way for young children to participate in exercise in group but in a noncompetitive way. Studies have even shown this form of exercise to be especially helpful for children with autism and ADHD.

Our supported yoga program uses yoga techniques to assist young children, ages 4-7, gain symmetry, balance, core strength. Our practice uses stretching, bending and holding positions to specifically impact motor control as well as overall muscle strength and flexibility. Children will be cued, encouraged, and guided through postures and activities with fun, easy going tools and strategies. We’re ready to help you get your child registered and reaping the benefits of this wonderful exercise today. 

Supporting Your Baby’s Development

The first two years of a child’s life are a critical time for brain growth and development, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This period of incredible growth is also a window of opportunity to help children who may need support developing their gross motor, fine motor and speech skills. If you suspect your child may not be developing on a typical schedule, what should you do?

It’s important to recognize whether your child’s development is “on track,” or happening along the timeline that healthcare professionals would expect for a healthy child. It’s estimated that one out of 40 children are born with an early motor delay. You know your child best, so if you have questions or concerns you should always speak with your pediatrician, who may refer you to a therapist or developmental pediatrician. Trained therapists and child development specialists can conduct an evaluation of your child’s skills to determine if he or she would benefit from therapy. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also developed an online tool to help parents identify motor delays in their children; you can find it here.

There are many options and treatments available for babies experiencing motor delays or any other developmental delays.

  • “If a child is delayed in large motor skills such as sitting up or walking, he or she may be referred to a physical therapist.
  • If a child is having trouble understanding language, using language, or swallowing, he or she may be seen by a speech/language therapist.
  • If the child is having trouble with fine motor skills, visual motor skills or independent living skills, such as feeding himself, picking up small objects, or buttoning his clothes, he or she may be referred to an occupational therapist.”

Source: “Is Your Baby’s Physical Development on Track?” HealthyChildren.org. The American Academy of Pediatrics. 15 Oct 2015

Here at EJ Therapy, we offer physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy; all are available in individual or group settings depending on the needs of your baby or child. Our warm, experienced staff is ready to help you with a consultation, evaluation or therapy services to address any concerns you have about your child’s development. 

Create Confidence

When a child feels confident, she feels like she can take on the world. Our goal is to provide children, along with their parents and schools, with the support and the tools that they need in order to meet each day with confidence. For more than 20 years, we at EJ Therapy have been committed to providing pediatric occupational, physical and speech therapy services to children of ranging abilities, including those who are developing typically and those with developmental delays or disabilities. If you’re wondering whether your child could benefit from occupational therapy, or any of our services, contact our staff today for more information. 

Why Occupational Therapy?

Children don’t have jobs, so why would they need occupational therapy? Don’t let the title be misleading; occupational therapy can help a child with any activity that is a part of her daily life, where her “job” is to play and to learn. Occupational therapy can also address more than physical challenges. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), occupational therapists can evaluate and help to address many psychological, social, and environmental factors that impact the way an individual child interprets and interacts with the world around them. Occupational therapy can help with a variety of concerns ranging from fine motor skills, such as holding a pencil, and hand-eye coordination, to managing sensory or behavioral needs within a given environment. Here at EJ Therapy, each child is evaluated as an individual and then provided with services that are both tailored to their unique needs and also based upon current research and best practices.