Monday, December 21, 2015

Shorter Crayons for Early Fine Motor Success

Short crayons are so beneficial to help children use a more mature grasp during fine motor activities. Check out Livvy, who is 2-years-old, coloring in the pictures below. Without any prompts, she is already displaying an emerging tripod grasp! On longer crayons, Livvy tends to use a 5-finger hold (still age appropriate), but with shorter crayons, she is building up fine motor strength required for increasing distal motor control (small, refined movements of the finger and hand muscles) necessary for many skills.

Often times, when providing private services, I will have parents break chalk and crayons that their kids use and not allow them to color/draw with any other writing utensils. This ensures a proper grasp and also limits frustration on both the parents and child's part. The parents are not trying to push the children to use an appropriate tripod grasp, as they would have to on typical sized writing implements, it occurs more naturally! I once worked with a child with autism who became so accustomed to using broken crayons that whenever her family went out and coloring was an option, she wanted to break all of the crayons! If this becomes a habit, you may have to pack your own crayons for restaurants and public settings, especially if you have a child who likes routine and is rigid in nature!

As always, if you have concerns regarding your child's development, it is important to discuss these issues with your pediatrician, naturopathic doctor and/or contact an occupational therapist to discuss your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact Pediatric Play Occupational Therapy with any questions/concerns as well. Distance consultation is always welcome! 

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