Fine & Gross Motor Skill Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will differentiate between fine and gross motor skills and identify ways teachers can help students with learning disabilities develop these skills to assist with their writing and other classroom activities.

Types of Motor Skills

What is the difference between fine and gross motor skills? Fine motor skills are small muscle movements that are used to write, talk, and grasp things. Gross motor skills are the large muscle movements that are used to walk, run, jump, and skip. Both fine and gross motor skills are necessary to go about your daily activities and to perform in the classroom.

There are certain learning disabilities, such as dyspraxia or dysgraphia, that can affect motor skills and interfere with a student's ability to succeed in school. Let's examine some ways that teachers can help these students.

Learning Disabilities that Affect Motor Skills

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that often interferes with the student's ability to form letters and words when writing. Students with dysgraphia may produce illegible writing, misspell words, inaccurately copy words and letters, and write in incoherent sentences.

Dyspraxia is a learning disability that affects a student's ability to coordinate movement. Dyspraxia can interfere with fine motor movements, such as writing or cutting, or it can interfere with gross motor movements, such as running or jumping. Students with coordination disorders have difficulty communicating signals from the brain to the parts of the body that need to move. Children who have trouble dressing themselves or feeding themselves may be displaying signs of dyspraxia.

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