Why Motor Skills Matter.

Report
Motor Skills that
Enhance Learning for Life
Bob Sornson, Ph.D.
Earlylearningfoundation.com
Why Do Motor Skills Matter?
Why Do Motor Skills Matter?
• An essential part of brain growth and
development in the early years
• A catalyst for the development of listening,
speaking, attention, emotional control, and
visual motor and visual thinking skills
• Essential for academic readiness
• Important for social success
Three Bodies of Evidence
Motor Skills
Exercise
Cardiovascular
Fitness
Checklist for Optimal Brain Functioning and
Readiness for Learning
o Balance
o Nutrition
o Crossing the midline
(gross and fine
motor skills)
o Hydration
o Beat competency
o Emotional safety
o Visual fitness
o Cardiovascular
fitness
o Comfortable visualmotor skills
o Rest
o Regular exercise
Essential References
• Hannaford, C., Smart Moves, Why Learning is
Not All in Your Head, Salt Lake City: Great River
Books, 2005.
• Ratey, J., Spark: The Revolutionary New Science
of Exercise and the Brain, New York: Little
Brown, 2008.
• Liddle, T.L., & L. Yorke. Why Motor Skills Matter.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Readiness for Learning
Why are more children
experiencing delays in
the development of
important sensory
motor skills?
The Sensory-Motor Progression
Solid tactile, auditory, and visual
processes
Adequate Balance
Gross Motor Skills, including Bilateral Motor Skills
Fine-Motor and Visual-Motor skills
Near-point Visual Skills
Visualization and Visual Memory
Optimal Readiness for Reading, Writing, Spelling and Mathematics
Solid tactile, auditory, and visual
processes
School-aged children with significant tactile,
auditory processing, or visual dysfunction
require specialized support services
Adequate Balance
Consider OT or PT referral for significant balance
problems.
• The Motor Moms and Dads Volunteer Program
• 30 Minute Motor Skill Development Plan
• Gross Motor Developmental Skills Profile
• BrainGym
• Balametrics
• BalaVisx
• Play
Gross Motor Skills,
including Bilateral Motor Skills
Consider OT or PT referral for significant gross
motor problems.
• Motor Moms and Dads Volunteer Program
• 30 Minute Motor Skill Development Plan
• Gross Motor Developmental Skills Profile
• BrainGym
• Balametrics
• BalaVisx
• Play
Fine-Motor and Visual-Motor skills
Consider OT referral for significant fine motor
problems.
• 30 Minute Motor Skill Development Plan
• Gross Motor Developmental Skills Profile
• BrainGym
• Balametrics
• BalaVisx
• Ready to Write
• Visual Motor Integration Program
• Visual motor play
Near-point Visual Skills
Young children with near-point visual skill delays
can usually be helped by improving the balance,
gross motor, and bilateral motor skills. Once the
balance and bilateral motor systems are
stabilized, visual motor and near-point vision will
usually develop.
Older children with near-point visual skill delays
may need specialized support from a vision
specialist to avoid the frustration of being asked
to draw, print and read without the skills to
sustain close-up vision.
Common Symptoms of
Near-point Visual Distress
General Observations:
• one eye drifts or aims in a different direction than the other
(look carefully -- this can be subtle). This is significant even
if it only occurs when the child is tired or stressed.
• turns or tilts head to see
• head is frequently tilted to one side or one shoulder is
noticeably higher
squinting or closing or covering of one eye
• excessive blinking or squinting
• short attention span for visual motor activities
• poor visual/motor skills
• clumsiness on playground or at home
Common Symptoms of
Near-point Visual Distress
While reading or doing close work your child:
• holds the book or object unusually close
• closes one eye or covers eye with hand
• twists or tilts head toward book or object so as to favor one
eye
• frequently loses place and fatigues easily
• always uses finger to read
• rubs eyes during or after short periods of reading
• omits or confuses small words
• loss of place when reading, line to line and word to word.
• child's ability to learn verbally surpasses his ability to learn
visually
Common Symptoms of
Near-point Visual Distress
Your child frequently complains of:
• only being able to read for short periods of time
• headaches or eyestrain
• nausea or dizziness
• motion sickness
• double vision
Or if your child has developed an avoidance pattern for visual
motor play, reading and writing.
Visualization and Visual Memory
• Rich language experiences for children who
cannot retell stories or make up stories
• Visual-motor creative play, i.e. draw, build
structures, dress dolls, crafts
• Imaginative play
• Lindamood-Bell’s Visualize and Verbalize
• Visualization and Visual Memory exercises
• Block memory
• Spelling with visual memory
• Math manipulatives
The Sensory-Motor Progression
Solid tactile, auditory, and visual
processes
Adequate Balance
Gross Motor Skills, including Bilateral Motor Skills
Fine-Motor and Visual-Motor skills
Near-point Visual Skills
Visualization and Visual Memory
Optimal Readiness for Reading, Writing, Spelling and Mathematics
Movement Goals for
Every Kindergarten Student
Impeccable Balance
Movement Goals for
Every Kindergarten Student
Fluid Skipping
Movement Goals for
Every Kindergarten Student
Throwing and Catching
Movement Goals for
Every Kindergarten Student
Comfortable Visual Motor Skills
Movement Goals for
Every Kindergarten Student
Impeccable Balance
Fluid Skipping
Throwing and Catching
Comfortable Visual Motor Skills
What Teachers Can Do
1.Provide movement in the classroom for all
children. Consider using transition activities with
movement, centers with movement, BrainGym,
Bal-a-Metrics, Bal-a-Visx, Project First Step, and
other movement programs. Encourage play at
recess.
2.At the preschool and K-1 levels, use the Motor
Moms and Dads Volunteer Program for all
children.
3. Give some children extra opportunities to move
or wiggle.
What Teachers Can Do
4. Identify children with mild to moderate
sensory motor delays and develop a plan to
deliver more movement practice at the
correct instructional level, using The 30Minute Motor Skills Development Plan.
Consider options at home or at school.
5. For children with significant tactile,
proprioceptive, and/or vestibular delays,
consult an occupational therapist and
develop a plan for home and school.
What Teachers Can Do
6. Educate parents about the importance of
movement in the home. Nurture
relationships with parents who are open to
learning how to improve the learning
outcomes of their children.
Discuss
What will happen to children with poorly
developed sensory-motor systems when
they meet the intense learning expectations
of a typical school?
This is Urgent!!!
Greater Content
Expectations
At Younger Ages
The Importance of
Early Learning Success
Bob Sornson, Ph.D.
Early Learning Foundation
Earlylearningfoundation.com

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