Fine-Motor Strategies and Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy affects the lives of millions of children worldwide. Simple acts take a long time to learn, and many children suffer in their struggle to learn fine-motor skills. Fine-motors skills are the skills that allow us to manipulate small objects in a controlled and careful manner. Any treatment program for cerebral palsy should include fine-motor-skill strategies.
Depending on the severity of their affliction, children suffering from cerebral palsy can develop fine-motor skills by building things out of smaller objects. It doesn’t matter what the children build or how well they build; it’s the process that matters.
Legos are an excellent tool for building. Start out by using the large, bulky blocks. These will be easier for the children to grasp and manipulate. As their fine-motor skills advance, use smaller Lego pieces. Encouragement will be necessary for this difficult process.
Toothpick construction is another method of building you can use. However, because of their small size and the difficulty of gluing them to other toothpicks, they should only be used if the children’s affliction is minor or if their fine-motor skills are more highly developed.
Painting is not only a good way to develop fine-motor skills; it also helps express the emotions of the children suffering from cerebral palsy. Moreover, it is a lot of fun. This is another activity where the results aren’t as important as the process. Many of the children will not be able to paint pretty paintings. They should still be praised for their work, as it takes a lot of skill with their affliction to paint at all.
Start out slowly by using finger paints. Finger paints will help develop fine-motor skills in individual fingers. If the child progresses enough to paint with a paint brush, she should be encouraged to do so. Not every child with cerebral palsy will be able to use a paint brush. The children who can’t should not be made to feel inferior.
Playing different musical instruments can help develop fine-motor skills. Not every child will be able to play a musical instrument well. However, letting children even pluck on a musical instrument will help their fine-motor skills.
The piano is one of the best instruments to use, as it requires coordination between both hands. Guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world and one of the most difficult to learn. It requires difficult finger manipulations on the neck to create pleasing sounds. A child attempting to play the guitar will have to develop fine-motor skills as he tries to fret in the correct places. Other instruments like the trumpet, saxophone and clarinet require lung strength that some children may not have due to their disability. Percussion instruments are fun for the children to hit, and should be integrated into your musical therapy.