Motor Skills

Page updated on: 26/08/2021

Children develop motor and co-ordination skills at different rates. As they grow, some children will have difficulties with fine (small) and gross (large) movements. Sometimes this is called Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (or D.C.D) or Dyspraxia. This can affect their ability to do everyday things, and they struggle with skills that others their age can do easily. Things like:

  • Balancing, in PE
  • Ball games
  • Pencil control
  • Picking things up
  • Using scissors

D.C.D affects more boys than girls. It can overlap with other things such as Dyslexia. It can make children more tired than their friends, can affect attention and concentration, and can impact on social interaction. It can affect organisation and personal care such as eating, dressing and toileting. It often makes a child frustrated and can lead to behaviour problems. 

How will the school help?

Schools should notice if children have difficulty with posture, organising and sequencing work or writing. For children with D.C.D. difficulties teachers can:

  • Differentiate, by offering tasks like labelling or cloze worksheets (fill in the gaps)
  • Offer alternative ways of recording work, including using ICT
  • Offer different types of pens, pencils or pencil grips
  • Say instructions and explain tasks more than once
  • Allow time for children to process information
  • Use colour and imagery to highlight key points or important information
  • Use talk to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, with activities such as
    • hot seating (speaking as a character)
    • mini presentations
    • envoying  (sending one member to gather information and report back to the group)
    • listening triangles (in threes, speaker gives opinion or information, listener listens carefully, observer notes and gives feedback to both)

Children, young people, parents or carers should speak to the school initially if they have any questions about the learners' coordination or motor skills.

Children and young people will be supported in different ways according to their needs within the classroom. They may need to work in small groups, sometimes with a teaching assistant to support needs or help identify need. Some children and young people who require additional support will be identified as having additional learning needs through a decision-making process

The following website may be useful for more information:

Education & Schools