Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Improving Motor Skills: Helping Kids Take Care of Their Healthy Smiles

Sometims children with reduced motor skills struggle a little more with daily activities. Fine motor issues can get in the way of easily accomplishing basic tasks, like dressing, bathing and brushing teeth.

Physical and occupational therapies are a big help when it comes to helping children with these problems. They can also learn how to accomplish some of the harder tasks, like buttons, catches and zippers. Sometimes these therapies also help children become more independent or consistent with their personal hygiene.

Is Brushing Teeth the Exception?

Brushing teeth involves a lot of motor skills. Children need to have good proprioceptive awareness, meaning they need to know where their bodies are in space, in order to comfortably aim the toothbrush into the mouth.

It also involves a skill called “ crossing the midline,” meaning kids need to be able to comfortably and confidently reach a hand from one side of the body to the other and use brush with accuracy.

Because of the difficulty in brushing, parents of children with motor skills deficits often end up brushing their childrens’ teeth for them, and for much longer than they might for other children.

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