Developing In-Hand Manipulation Skills in Your Child

Posted on October 10, 2016 · Posted in Parent Tips

Generally, we pick up small objects (e.g., coins) moving them into our palm and later out to our fingertips without giving much thought to the intricate movements that are needed. The ability to manipulate objects within our hands has been found to be a predictor of fine motor skills (e.g., buttoning, handwriting).

These skills (called in-hand manipulation or dexterity) start developing by 12 months and continue to be refined until ages 9-10 years while speed increases through 12 years of age. Delays in developing these skills may impact daily life skills.
Check your child with 3 easy tasks:
· Using only the preferred hand, can your child individually pick up small objects (preschoolers—use 3 objects; older children use 5 objects) and keep the others in the palm while picking up the next object?
· Once the objects are in the palm, can your child move the objects, one at a time, from the palm to the fingertips (thumb/index) to release it into a container?

· Using only the preferred hand, can your child (age 5 and above) rotate a pencil to use the eraser? Using the body for help is not allowed either!!

For more information on in-hand manipulation and fine motor skills, talk with an occupational therapist.