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Gross & Fine Motor Development in ADHD Children

by Melinda Kedro, studioD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition affecting 8 percent to 10 percent of school-age children, according to KidsHealth. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, chances are you are concerned about his well-being and ability to function and develop properly in his home, school and social environments. Children with ADHD are more prone to gross and fine motor developmental problems. Understanding these challenges will allow you to find the best treatment and support for your child.

ADHD and Gross-motor Development

According to a study published in the "Journal of Neural Transmission," children with ADHD are more susceptible to gross-motor developmental delays. Gross-motor skills involve a person's large body movements through activities such as walking, kicking a ball and playing sports. Difficulty with bodily coordination is often times a characteristic of ADHD. Children with ADHD might struggle with gross-motor skills as a result of their inability to slow down and focus on their movements.

ADHD Affects Fine Motor Development

A 2003 study conducted through the Curtin University of Technology demonstrates that children with ADHD possess less developed fine-motor skills. Fine-motor skills are inherent in activities conducted with the hands and wrists such as writing, drawing and tying shoes. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, he might require additional help to complete written homework assignments and any tasks that necessitate hand-eye coordination and precision.

Exercise for ADHD Therapy

Psychiatrist Joe Strayhorn, adjunct associate professor of psychiatry with both Drexel University College of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh, stresses that physical exercise is a beneficial treatment for children with ADHD. Exercise provides an outlet for the elevated level of energy that these children typically display. Your child can benefit from participating in an organized sport, too. Allow him to try out several sports before sticking to one in particular. Every child with ADHD is different and will respond differently to various sports. Choose a sport that does not have too much downtime. Some children with ADHD might prefer individual or non-competitive sports such as martial arts or skating.

Other Ways to Support Motor Development for Children with ADHD

Fine-motor training programs are available to help children with ADHD develop the manipulation of their hands and fingers. Another technique explained by Danette Schott, founder of Social-Other-School Research and mother of a child with ADHD, is "backward chaining." This technique breaks a sequential process into shorter steps and teaches the child how to accomplish a task from the end to the beginning. Schott postulates that this approach can help children with ADHD to not feel frustrated or discouraged by not being able to reach the end of a challenging task. This approach also helps by allowing the child to focus on one step of a process at a time.

About the Author

With more than 10 years experience in early childhood education, Melinda Kedro holds a Masters degree in education, teaching certification through the Association Montessori Internationale and is a licensed childcare provider through the Colorado Department of Human Services.

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