The use of the toys, games and equipment listed in this section of Living made easy for children may assist with the development of your child's dexterity (the ability to coordinate movements in the hands) and hand-eye co-ordination.
Dexterity is a fine motor skill which involves the use of the smaller muscles of the hands. It is essential for performing everyday skills such as cleaning teeth, doing up buttons, and using pencils or scissors. Confidence in these skills develops with repeated experience of them.
Whilst this equipment is unlikely to be provided by either the health service or social services, a paediatric occupational therapist should be able to advise on suitable toys and activities to develop the skills of your child. They may also know of local toy libraries or parent support groups that lend toys to try out with your child before purchase.
To use their hands precisely, children need good shoulder and upper arm strength and stability to hold and position their hands, both close to and away from the body and at different height levels.
In order to grip an object with precision, hand muscles need to be sufficiently developed to enable the palm and fingers to move around the object and to sustain and adjust the grip as necessary.
To be motivating and enjoyable, toys and games need to be appropriate for the age and skills of children so that they can succeed with minimal assistance. Slip-resistant mats can be useful to stabilise toys and keep them within reach for visually impaired and/or physically disabled children and supportive seating may be necessary to give your child the physical ability to play.
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