Many children with sensory processing disorder appear to be ambidextrous- that is, it seems like they are able to use both hands equally. Upon closer examination, one might notice that such a child isn’t truly ambidextrous. Instead of possessing a skill that allows him to use both hands well, the child cannot use either hand well. It is common to see these children switching hands often in the midst of a task, ie. while writing or drawing or playing, because there is underdeveloped strength in each hand, the hands tire easily.
It is important for children to have a dominant right or left side- the other side (hand/foot) acts as a helper to the dominant one. While one hand pushes race cars along the tracks, the other holds the child’s weight against the floor. While one foot kicks a soccer ball, the other foot stays on the ground, steadying the child. If both hands attempt to do the same jobs, both hands remain weak and unskilled.
Dominance also affects and is affected by the wiring and functions of the brain. A strong one-sided dominance allows for optimal brain functioning. Organized, efficient brainpower creates the strong preference for either the right or left side.
Much of the time, a child who does not display a right or left dominance, also has trouble crossing the midline. Some children have to switch hands when writing across a paper and they get to the middle of the line. Some of these children also have an immature grasp and have never developed the perfect pincer grip. The children also may have trouble with grasping scissors or cutting with them accurately. All of these skills are necessary in developing fine motor skills.
My son MeMe is right-handed. He tells me he’s not so sure which foot to use when a ball comes his way in the schoolyard. He does okay with scissors but his pincer grip can use some help. He picks up almost everything with five fingers. He’s started playing a game similar to marbles so he’s learning to use his forefinger and thumb.
I came across a great website School Sparks, which has tons of information about a young child’s development plus free worksheets you can use to practice all different, very important skills with your child. Have fun! (They do look like fun!)
How is your child with fine motor skills? Does he display a hand-dominance? What have you done to help him develop these skills?