~Cerebral Palsy often affects the ability to control Fine Motor skills. My daughter can hold things and press buttons, sometimes manage zips and bring food to her mouth. At four years old she is unable to control a pencil at all, but we spend every day playing with toys and doing activities that help her to improve her fine motor skills in the hope that she may be able to write her own name one day.

Sometimes it’s easy to be too helpful when they are struggling with something it takes you seconds to do but this way I know she is still getting that practise daily.

Most of the activities we do when we are in the standing frame as she is comfortable and has her hands free:

Drawing Shapes in the Sand  We fill up the tray and with our fingers we draw lots of different shapes and letters with our fingers in the sand. We also hide small coins in the sand that she has to search for.

Cutting – We have left handed self opening scissors, I use old Christmas and birthday cards and Bella tries to cut them in half, she only has to close her hand and the scissors spring open again ready for her to press again.

Stickers – I love giving Bella a sheet of stickers, after lots of perseverance and hard work she can now take off most stickers herself and stick them onto her tray or paper.

Pegs – I found some brightly coloured pegs online and Bella absolutely loves just pegging them onto a piece of paper or a book and then taking them all off again using her thumb and forefinger to open and close them and swapping hands.

Threading – Threading is extremely fiddly! We started using a thin rope, covering the end in sticky tape so it’s quite firm and threading through cotton Reels.  Bella can now thread big beads onto thick string to make pretty necklaces; it’s taken a lot of patience though.

iPad – The best App I have found for Dexterity is called Dexteria Jr. It has three games on it called Squish the squash, Trace and erase and Pinch the pepper. Pinch the pepper is quite tricky but excellent for Bella to try and practise twisting her wrist.

Melissa & Doug Doorbell House – It’s not a cheap toy but the Melissa & Doug doorbell house is brilliant for motor skills practise. It’s a sturdy small wooden house with four doors. There is a doorbell next to each door which each make a different chime when pressed. There is a different key for each door, and they are all different shapes. They are small, but only need a slight turn to open the door. Inside each door is a small doll.

Turning the pages in books – Our favourite book to read at the moment is called Susan Laughs. It’s a picture book about a little girl who plays with her daddy, goes swimming, plays in the park, she’s naughty, she’s nice, and she’s a normal little girl. On the last page is a picture of Susan in her wheelchair, which hadn’t been noticeable in the other pictures and still isn’t mentioned on the last page, it’s a lovely book.

Other good activities are finger rhymes, musical instruments play dough, windup toys, and chalks in the garden.

Bella certainly has more fun doing things when she doesn’t realise she’s having to work very hard!

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