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Physical development

Ali Rawling and Victoria DiGiovanni, occupational therapists, McMaster Children’s Hospital

My name is Victoria. My name is Ali. We are occupational therapists within the Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation team at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre. In this video, we will give you – as parents and caregivers – four key things to keep an eye out for as your child transitions to school this fall.

Gross motor skills

The first area we will touch on is “gross motor skills” which are the big body movements our children do every day. As parents and caregivers, we want you to keep an eye on how your child moves. This includes getting on and off the bus, how they are interacting with peers in outdoor areas and during gym class, how they are moving up and down stairs, and if they are able to maintain a seated position during classroom activities.

Fine motor skills

The next area we’ll talk about is “fine motor skills” which are the small movements of our hands and fingers. Fine motor skills are important for most activities that children do at home and at school. This includes the way that they hold their pencil or utensil, opening containers such as their backpacks, lunchboxes and pencil cases, as well as dressing tasks such as their coats, shoes, hats, and mitts. If you notice your child is having difficulty in any of these skill areas, including gross motor skills like Ali talked about, please connect with your child’s teacher or family doctor.

Equipment needs

If your child uses equipment in a school setting, such as a hearing or communication device, a wheelchair or other mobility devices, this is a gentle reminder to check for growth. Just as children’s feet grow quickly and often require a new pair of shoes come September, it is also important to check for growth in equipment as well.

Continue with regular healthcare visits

The last thing we’d like you to keep in mind is the importance of continuing on with regular visits with your child’s care providers. This could involve their occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, physiotherapist, pediatrician or others involved in their care.

We hope your child’s transition to school goes well!