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Fine-Motor Coordination

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Fine-motor coordination involves the ability to control the small muscles of the body and is usually defined as the ability to coordinate the action of the eyes and hands together in performing precise manipulative movements (eye-hand coordination). The early forerunners of fine-motor control appear to be the reflex grasp and avoidance reactions that become integrated and refined with increasing age and experience.

Most manipulative activities require the use of the two hands working together to perform the task. These are referred to as bi-manual activities. Single-handed manipulative tasks are referred to as uni-manual activities; for example, opening a door. The third type of manipulative activities are graphic activities which include drawing and handwriting. In general, children show the most improvement in simple fine-motor control behaviors from 4 to 6 years, whereas more complex control behaviors tend to improve gradually from 5 to 12 years. Isolated finger, hand, wrist, and foot movements tend to improve significantly from 5 to 8 years.

Vision is known to play an important role in fine-motor control. Continued visual experience is necessary for feedback and refinement of early guided-hand responses.

Kinesthetic input from receptors in the muscles, joints, tendons, and skin also provide essential information for development and refinement of fine-motor actions.


Excepted from Ready-to-Use Fine Motor Skills & Handwriting Activities for Young Children / Joanne M. Landy and Keith R. Burridge / The Center for Applied Research and Education / 1999

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