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Fine motor skills


Manual dexterity is the ability to make coordinated hand and finger movements to grasp and manipulate objects. Manual dexterity includes muscular, skeletal, and neurological functions to produce small, precise movements. Development of these skills occurs over time, primarily during childhood. Developed manual dexterity requires the ability to cognitively plan and execute a task. These skills are fundamental for an individual to experience and learn about his or her environment. Manual dexterity development follows a set of developmental milestones, beginning with gross motor body movements progressing to fine motor movements. Typical manual dexterity development results in the ability to write with a pencil, stack blocks, pick up small items, cut with scissors, and other skills requiring precise movements. Difficulties with manual dexterity may be affected by a variety of conditions that include abrasions or dysfunctions of the brain, cerebellum,...

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References and Readings

  • Bruni, M. (2006). Fine motor skills in children with down syndrome: A guide for parents and professionals (2nd ed.). Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Makofske, B. (2011). Manual Dexterity. In: Kreutzer, J.S., DeLuca, J., Caplan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer, New York, NY.

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