What Are Motor Skills?

Children running
Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Motor skills are skills involving movement and motion. A child with motor impairments has trouble moving in a controlled, coordinated, and efficient way. Occupational and physical therapists will work to strengthen your child's motor skills, with occupational therapists dealing primarily with fine motor skills and physical therapists concentrating on gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills

Fine motor refers to movements that require a high degree of control and precision.

These may include drawing shapes, writing, cutting with a scissors, using eating utensils. Children with neurological problems or developmental delays may have difficulty with fine motor skills. They may receive occupational therapy to help them catch up, or may need modifications or assistive technology to keep up with schoolwork in spite of these delays. For more information on how to address fine motor problems, see our section on Occupational Therapy.

Gross motor skills

Gross motor refers to movements that involve large muscle groups and are generally more broad and energetic than fine motor movements. These may include walking, kicking, jumping, and climbing stairs. Children with neurological problems, developmental delays, or disabilities that affect movement may receive physical therapy to help with gross motor skills, or may need modifications or assistive technology to keep up with mobility or athletics in spite of these delays.

For more information on how to address gross motor problems, see our section on Physical Therapy.

Continue Reading