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Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills, also known as large motor skills, involve the large motor muscles of the body. Skills considered to be gross motor skills involve walking, sitting, running, and ball skills. Gross motor skills also involve the ability to balance and our coordination. Individuals with poor gross motor skills are often considered clumsy. Individuals with low muscle tone often have difficulty with their gross motor skills.

A lack or delay of gross motor skills not only affects our ability to do large actions like walking and running, but an inability to sit appropriately or with good stability can affect other activities such as writing and school work. Young students spend a lot of time sitting in chairs and even without support on the floor and students that have difficulties with gross motor skills have a great deal of difficulty participating with their peers on the floor. It is difficult for them to maintain attention or to make transitions easily from the floor to a standing position.

Children work on their gross motor skills many times every day. Students with deficits have a great deal of difficulty in many areas during their day. Gross motor deficits can be caused by low muscle tone, neurological deficits (from birth or head injury), and genetic disorders. We start working on developing our gross motor skills from infancy. The ability to roll over, crawl, and eventually walk are all developmental gross motor skills. If a child has delays in crawling, they have difficulty in transferring the muscle movements to walking. Delays in young gross motor skills continue to grow as the child grows. As the child grows older they gain better control of their muscle movements and balance.

Children with disorders such as cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, and muscular dystrophy have delays in their gross motor development. Many students and young children with gross motor delays receive Physical Therapy at school or at outside agencies once or twice a week to work on their gross motor skills. Due to the many academic demands of the classroom, it is difficult to carry over these gross motor skills in the classroom and for some students makes it very difficult to make appropriate gains. Since gross motor skills such as running and ball play involve being up and active, it is best to work on our gross motor skills by participating in play and movement activities.

Since gross motor skills, or large motor skills, involve our large muscle groups, deficits in gross motor skills can cause a child to appear awkward, clumsy, or unsteady when they are running, playing, and even walking. This can cause issues for the child socially and emotionally. Students with gross motor delays may become frustrated they cannot participate or complete the same activities as their peers. Other children may not be willing to play with them on the playground or choose them to be in a group during gym class. This can cause much embarrassment and anger for the child. Also because our gross motor development affects things like balancing and sitting, deficits in our gross motor skills can cause problems academically. They may develop difficulties focusing on work because their body becomes tired trying to sit and maintain balance for long periods of time. It is important to help students work on their gross motor skills in a fun and active manner through games and play.

July 5, 2011 This post was written by Categories: Gross Motor Information No comments yet


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