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3 year old's nursery assessment - slow development of fine motor skills

(22 Posts)
Sleepdeprived72 Tue 29-Jul-08 21:20:41

Anyone experienced this. Came back from DS1's parents evening at his nursery somewhat shocked. Firstly the fact that they had completed 10 pages of assessment on him - for goodness sake he is only 3 and secondly that they said he was developing his fine motor skills much slower than his peer group. On the flip side he is as they put it "linguistically advanced" which I take to mean a good vocabulary. I accept that he is not good with his spoon and fork for eating - much of which I put down to some food issues and the fact that i fed him myself for too long. They have suggested that i allow him to struggle with tasks which I might ordinarily help him out with to further develop his fine motor skills. Down side being that he just gets frustrated and upset. A huge part of me thinks that he is 3 and should be allowed to develop at his own pace and that this is just overkill from the nursery but a nagging voice at the back of me wonders if I am just being over protective. Having observed him I also can see a tendency to left handedness which may explain some of it.Anyone else had similar experiences.

bodiddly Tue 29-Jul-08 21:25:25

I can't help I am afraid but duplo/lego/puzzles/drawing are all good for developing fine motor skills I believe. On the plus side at least your nursery seem on the ball ... my ds' nursery would definitely not pick up on something like this although yours sound a little bit OTT on the reports and assessments for his age!

thisisyesterday Tue 29-Jul-08 21:31:14

you know what? I agree with you. I think children develop at vastly different rates, and your ds may just have been busy working on his "linguistic skills" as they put it, and shortly he will catch up with the motor skills.

I would however, book an appt with the Health Visitor, if you have a friendly one.
reasons are twofold.
1.) you can say to nursery that you;ve done it, and it looks like you're being proactive, even if you aren't wink

2.) if there is a problem, which I don't suppose there is, then it can be sorted asap.

mckenzie Tue 29-Jul-08 21:34:48

rewind 4 years and that could have been my post sd72. Honestly. I was told exactly the same things about DS. By the time he left reception he was a fantastic reader and his communication skills were great but he still struggled big time to hold a pen, do up a button, use scissors etc. Now, at the end of year 2 he is just 7 with a reading age (according to the school) of nearly 10 years and lets just say he has his own unique way of holding a pen. Writing still does not come easy to him (the physical side that is) and a part of me wishes that i had spend more time drawing pictures with him in the sand and fiddling with play doh. I was always advised to leave the pens and pencils alone and instead to do things to build up his larger muscle groups (wheel barrows around the garden he enjoyed, whitewashing the garage door with water).

You have my deepest sympathy as we want to do the best for our dcs obviosuly but it is hard to find the right balance isn't it?

Did the nursery give you a booklet with ideas of games to play etc that they thought would help you DS?

Sleepdeprived72 Tue 29-Jul-08 21:35:44

thanks thisisyesterday - supportive yet practical advice

Sleepdeprived72 Tue 29-Jul-08 21:41:24

mckenzie they suggested more drawing with big crayons. We have a easel he got for his 3rd birthday with big chunky chalks but he really has never been into drawing and loses interest very quickly. He does however like jigsaws which I thought might be a start. There are other things involving small object but he has a younger baby brother so I am loathed to have small objects about in fear his brother will pop them in his mouth. Not to suggest I never tidy up or anything but with the best will in the world it does happen.

mckenzie Tue 29-Jul-08 21:49:18

totally understand the problem re the younger one. Ds was also never really interested in drawing, painting etc and he too was a big jigsaw fan. If you shake his hand, how firmly does he grip your hand? DS had hardly any strength in his grip which is why we were told to concentrate on building up strength in the larger muscles (hence the large strokes painting the garage and the wheelbarrow game). If you'd like, I'll try and find the paperwork we were given to see if any games might be suitabel for a 3 year old who has an inquisitive and sometimes hungry younger brother smile

Sleepdeprived72 Tue 29-Jul-08 21:54:37

mckenzie would really appreciate it. Will try the handgrip tomorrow when he wakes up - he'll think I've gone bonkers. Feel better to have found someone who has experienced similar. Also think I have become more aware as his brother gets older as he is a very physical child but interestingly much behind in the talking stakes.

thisisyesterday Tue 29-Jul-08 21:57:40

you can get big fat chalks which are GREAT for going outside and drawing on walls/paths with :D
no-one can resist that. and it'll wash away with rain.

I think you need to find things he will enjoy doing. because if you end up putting pressure on him to do stuff then he won't enjoy it and it could put him off even more.

I think boys go through phases of just not wanting to be arty and crafty. was recently discussing this with some friends, we all have 3 yr olds too, and the boys are WAY more interested in doing role play with toys and being out doing active stuff than sitting with pens and paints.

fridayschild Tue 29-Jul-08 22:11:00

Agree with all of the suggestions that you find something he likes doing! Can you leave pens and a note book high enough for DS1 but out of baby's reach, so he can draw or write if he wants to? My DS1 also has poor fine motor skills, and likes standing on a step drawing things every now and again - he is older than your boy. Transformers are fiddly things and therefore good for fine motor skills, but maybe he will find them too frustrating to start with.

thisisyesterday Tue 29-Jul-08 22:13:28

actually, ds1 does like lego. not good when you ahve a baby around, so he has to do it up at the table and put ALL bits away when he is done.

and he likes "writing" letters to people, that we then post

lizinthesticks Tue 29-Jul-08 22:17:22

10 pages of assessment?? Holy shite. Who is running the place? Stella bloody Rimington?

I'm sorry but that is a total overkill. Especially given the little guy's abilities.

I dunno. Maybe it's just me. I just get so pissed off with the level of scrutiny that kids're subjected to these days. Incredible.

asteamedpoater Tue 29-Jul-08 23:07:04

3 does seem rather young to go into so much detail. However, as other posters have suggested, exercises to strengthen the muscle groups in the shoulders, arms and hands often help with fine motor skills. Helping stir things while cooking, scooping sand in the sand pit, playing with playdough, wheelbarrow walking all help. Also, drawing on a blackboard or against an upright surface helps develop the upper body strength required for good pen control. And when he does use pens or pencils, thick ones are better - jumbo triangular pencils are easiest to grip. Holding several coins in your hand and manipulating them so that you only post one at a time through a post-box also helps with fine motor control and can be quite good fun. And of course, threading, puzzles, lego, etc, are all tradtional games for developing fine motor skills.

I would have thought general exercise like swimming would also help in the long run, as this is the best exercise for building up muscles all over the body without damaging the joints.

lizinthesticks Wed 30-Jul-08 08:01:46

Soz but I don't think parents need telling this kind of thing. It's what kids DO. All those things. Every day from the moment they get up, that's exactly what they're doing. Only if they're being kept in straitjackets would they not be doing these exercises to "hone" their "fine motor skills" or however they couch this stuff. It's like saying yes, do try to ensure that your child breathes regularly.

There is too much paranoid scrutiny and consequently too much bizarre prescription.

OP - please do NOT worry. It sounds very much like you have a wonderfully healthy kid who is doing just fine. Better than just fine.

Oblomov Wed 30-Jul-08 08:17:52

I appreciate that some parents made not want to be told these things/may not want to be worried. But I would like to know.
I discussed things like this with ds's nursery. I think it is great that they had filled in 10 pages on him.
Highlighting his great vocab. Highlighting something that he is maybe not so good at.
O.K. so lets gets some perspective on this. It is not a MAJOR issue. And yes, all children develop at different times. But it has been highlighted to you. You are now AWARE. That is essential.
No need to make a drama out of it. Just gentle encouragemment at all motor skills things. Jigsaws are good. And he must be gently encouraged to keep trying at crayons and pens. So that he gets better. None of us like things we aren't good at. and he is only 3. But he needs gentle encouragement. That is all.

lizinthesticks Wed 30-Jul-08 15:55:30

Not only is it not a major issue, ten years ago it probably wouldn't even have been an issue at all. And ten years hence it may well not be again. At the moment the levels of scrutiny on childhood development are almost unprecedented, afaict.

But hey. Do whatcha gotta do.

asteamedpoater Wed 30-Jul-08 19:20:09

lizinthesticks - I agree that scrutiny on childhood development these days is often a bit OTT. BUT, it is NOT true that all children from the minute they get up are getting involved in activities that will help them develop their fine motor skills. Those children with genuine co-ordination difficulties, or genuine physical difficulties, such as extreme hypermobility or hypotonia, often actively avoid any activities that might help them develop their motor skills, unless given masses of support and encouragement. Those children 10 years ago would have gone on to have totally incomprehensible handwriting, low self esteem, be laughed at for being clumsy and written off as lazy at school. Sometimes there is a genuine difficulty there that needs extra attention. So don't be so patronising, if you don't have experience of a child with genuine difficulties, or assume that this poster is one of those whose child wouldn't benefit from a bit of extra encouragement - as you point out, it's not as if at this age any extra encouragement would involve anything beyond trying to encourage them to get more involved with activities that other children their age are doing, anyway.

asteamedpoater Wed 30-Jul-08 19:58:30

Having said that (from the perspective of a mother with a child with genuine motor difficulties), I do think that parents normally have a feeling that something isn't quite right before they get told by a nursery, if there is a genuine problem there. To be taken by surprise indicates that any perceived issue by the nursery must be pretty minor.

In the case of a 10 page report, it's probably more a case of wanting to have something to say than feeling there is something really important to communicate and be dealt with, there. Also, suggesting that a child be left to work things out for himself a bit more indicates to me that they don't think he has a real problem as such, but rather he just isn't very independent minded at this age and likes to have things done for him if possible, which really isn't that unusual for a boy.

TinySocks Wed 30-Jul-08 20:17:55

asteamedpoater wrote: "I agree that scrutiny on childhood development these days is often a bit OTT"

And yet those of us with children that have special needs have had to fight to get those needs noticed and to get help.

I think that nursery is doing a fab job. Professionals just cannot get it right can they? If they don't give you information about your child's development then they are not doing their job, on the other hand if they hand you a report detailing how your child is doing they are being OTT. The more information you have the better.

lizinthesticks Wed 30-Jul-08 20:27:19

Investing the extensive time required to draft a 10 page dossier on a normal child is precisely why those with SN children have to fight. If it wasn't for the completely wasted efforts involved in the former, maybe the latter would get what they need, when they need it.

asteamedpoater Wed 30-Jul-08 21:58:49

I do resent being quoted out of context. And I do have a child with special needs.

mckenzie Wed 30-Jul-08 22:53:10

hey SleepDeprived72, I have found the booklet. Do you want to CAT me and give me your address and i will post it to you?

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