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Fine Motor Activities for Students with Dysgraphia

written by: Sharon Dominica • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 1/6/2012

Dysgraphia is a condition where children may have difficulty writing. It is a sensory processing disorder. Interventions include the development of fine motor skills. This article describes a number of activities you can try with children who have dysgraphia.

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    Children with dysgraphia are unable to collect information through their senses and respond to them in the right way. They are often clumsy and have difficulty with fine motor coordination skills. Giving them a chance to practice these skills in a fun and exciting way will help improve their writing and letter formation.

    Here are some fine motor activities you can do right at home:

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    Activities to Improve Fine Motor Coordination

    Activities like those listed below will help the child develop better control of fine movements in the hand.

    - Playing with small fridge magnets. The child can arrange them in a line, circle or any other shape.

    - Making shapes with matchsticks

    - Making a tower with coins

    - On a piece of paper, draw small circles. The child is asked to place one stone inside each circle.

    - Pouring liquids into small containers

    - Pick up sticks game ( You can do it with spaghetti). Hold a bundle of spaghetti upright and drop it. The spaghetti will fall over each other. The game is to pick up one piece at a time without disturbing the position of any other pieces.

    - Picking up small pieces of colored paper and gluing them for a craft activity.

    - Gluing pulses, or sequins on to the outline of a simple shape or picture.

    - Sorting small colored Lego pieces according to their colors.

    - Pasting stickers or shapes on a paper where the outline is already drawn.

    - Simple sewing- Use a large needle and draw a line on the cloth to follow.

    - Arranging seeds, beads or small Lego pieces in a straight line.

    - Mix rice and pulses. Ask your child to pick out the pulses.

    - Transferring rice from one container to another

    - Doing a sequence of actions to a beat- ex. clap twice, and slap your thigh twice

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    Pencil Grasp Skills

    These are some examples of activities that will help the child to hold and manipulate the pencil in the right way. In addition to this, thicker pencils and pencil grasps may be helpful. For more ideas read this.

    - Tracing a picture using tracing paper

    - Coloring , painting inside the lines

    - Dot to dot activities

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    Object Manipulation Skills

    These are skills that help us manipulate objects. It is a higher level of fine motor skills. Children with Dyslexia and dysgraphia often have deficits in this area. The activities given below will help develop object manipulation skills

    - Lacing shoes

    - Turning a pencil within the hand 360 degrees

    - Learning to pleat a long strip of cloth

    - Give 2 small balls of 2 different colors of play dough. Ask the child to mix them till it makes a new color and you cant see the old ones.

    - Using a screwdriver to unscrew a nut ( play or real).

    - Screwing and unscrewing small nuts and bolts ( play or real)

    - Folding small square pieces of paper twice to make smaller squares.

    - Making balls out of play dough

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    Activites to Improve Bilateral Skills

    Bilateral skills refer to the use of both hands together in a coordinated way. Although writing is a single hand activity, the development of bilateral skills plays an important role in cognitive development and hand use. The activities below are some examples of bilateral activities.

    - Plaiting rope, or even dolls hair

    - Take a twine or rope and knot it several times. Ask the child to open all the knots

    - Learning to make a bow

    - Transferring water from one bucket to another using only hands to hold the water in.

    - Cutting along a line with a pair of scissors

    - Beading beads of different sizes ( you can also try pasta)

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    Try these fine motor activities with your students who are struggling with dysgraphia. Here are some more ideas to remediate dysgraphia. For more resources on helping children with special needs, continue to browse through the special education section www.brighthubeducation.com.

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