What are Gross Motor Skills?

Gross motor skills are a key part of development and play a role in performance of activities of daily living. They are the whole body movement skills using large muscle groups and movement patterns. Gross motor skills require core muscle groups and postural control so that everyday functional activities such as sitting upright, standing, walking and running can happen without a person falling over. Gross motor skills include hand-eye coordination.

Gross motor skills support people to perform everyday tasks such as sitting at a table, eating food, brushing teeth, getting dressed, carrying their backpacks, playing with their friends and generally, participating in life, independently. For example, putting pants on requires a person to shift weight from one foot to another, bend down, use 2 hands to manipulate and pull the pants, balance on one foot, put one foot into the pants leg without falling over, stand up and do up the zip or buttons. That’s a lot of movement for one small, seemingly simple task.

Gross motor abilities have a significant influence on everyday functions of children in school. In order to maintain table top posture (upper body support) gross motor skills to be in place. It will affect the competence of a child to listen to class instructions, sit upright in a chair as well as participate in fine motor skills (e.g. drawing, cutting and writing). If all of the previously mentioned skills are not in place it will have an impact on their academic learning. It is the system we, as humans, require to be functioning at a high level of efficiency at all times to reduce fatigue, help us to complete tasks and ultimately, connect within our community. 

For more information please contact me: lindy@occtherapy.org 

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