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Fine motor/gross motor/writing ideas


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I have a child with Down Syndrome in my class who has made great progress in all areas over the last year apart from in his fine motor and writing. We are using both the EYFS and PIVOTs to assess him so are able to assess little steps in progress as well as moving through the ages and stages. Of course, this area is often a 'problem' area for children with Down Syndrome but I'm just wondering whether there is anything else that might encourage him to make-marks and develop his motor skills further.

He has exercises that he does everyday from his physio to develop his core, shoulder and arms muscles. We do finger gym twice a week (which is differentiated so he is in the group who need shoulder, arm and wrist strengthening exercises) and he does these with his TA on a 1 to 1 as well. We have a finger gym table and all sorts of mark-making equipment for differing levels of ability including pens on long sticks, chalks, fat and thin pens on low tables, normal tables, the floor, whiteboard, chalk board, easel, paintbrushes outdoors. He practises rolling and throwing light balls regularly and visits climbing areas regularly with his family (we don't have any climbing equipment currently at school). He doesn't enjoy play-dough, sand or messy activities so will not persevere with these. Writing is modelled and 'offered' in different contexts on a daily basis which he will engage in for only short periods of time and tends to want to bang the pens down as hard as he can. He has an understanding of print and writing but is yet to really put a meaning to his own marks - yet will ask others to write or draw something. His interests are really centred around his family and other familiar people and Mr Tumble.

I do need to get some new dance ribbons sorted (must add to list!!)

Any suggestions are appreciated.


Green Hippo x

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You seem to have a lot of things already covered! A number of our boys like to use trigger type water sprays in the garden would he be interested in that activity. We obviously talk through no spraying anyone else etc., although in truth this does happen particularly in the summer months but they happily spray all manner of things, they have also been known to compare spray patterns on the fence or who has the biggest spray pattern.


I know some groups put paint in them, but I've always found that it just hunks up the nozzle and is profoundly unsatisfying

Edited by Panders
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Well sealed zippy bags with hair gel, glitter and fish mess without the mess if you see what I mean helps build wrist and finger muscles.

ABC does uses laminated whole body shots of familiar people within all areas of the class room to extend play could you do this with family members to use for example in the sand area.

One of our staff has a child with downs syndrome she brought in some large bulbous animal markers they made the animal noise if you wrote with them, her son struggled holding a pen as do some of our 2yr olds they adore them . x

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Hi suewhit!

Funny - I was talking about well sealed zippy bags with the little boys SSA today and have also had the whole body shots of individuals on planning which I have yet to get round too... We have 'relevant' photos from home in different areas e.g. reading with family displayed in book corner, in house in home corner etc. Don't have in all areas though.. will think about this one.

The problem with most 'messy' sensory type play is that EVERYTHING goes in his mouth - sand/paint/gloop ANYTHING. We used an aquamat and used his fingers, large brushes and play people (his favourite thing!) to make marks and of course, doesn't matter if this goes in his mouth!

We will just have to persevere with different types of mark-makers - it just doesn't seem to float his boat at all. We have tried allsort.

We have great pens which I found in Tescos - they are really chunky and smell of different fruits - we have been using them on a low table for a bit of a change and the children are loving them. Come in all colours as well as highlighters.

Thanks for your suggestions

Green hippo x

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