Children (Ages 5-12)

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Fine Motor

Developing Skills

  • Hand dominance is firmly established; consistently uses dominant hand
  • Utilizes a functional pencil grasp (ex. tripod, quadrupod)
  • Draws a person with a least 6 different body parts
  • Coordinates hand and finger movements needed to participate in a variety of table top games and activities
  • Colors within the lines without excessive deviation; refines with age
  • Has skills to actively participate in craft and construction activities
  • Independently ties shoelaces by age 6
  • Demonstrates increased independence with self-care

Warning Signs

  • Uses too much or too little pressure when coloring/drawing
  • Accidentally breaks pencils, crayons or toys from pressing too hard
  • Frequently switches between hands during art activities or when eating
  • Poor or awkward grasp on utensils (ex. forks, spoons) or tools (ex. crayons, chalk, pencils, markers, scissors); may frequently reposition fingers
  • Arms, hands, or fingers fatigue quickly when coloring, writing, or drawing
  • Difficulty with dressing, manipulating fasteners, eating

Gross Motor

Developing Skills

  • Easily performs basic motor skills with fluidity—hopping on 1 foot, galloping, skipping, etc.
  • Rides a bicycle independently
  • Independently pumps a swing
  • Jumps rope
  • Plays ball games with peers (ex. catch, handball, 4-square, etc.)
  • Safely navigates environments without falling or bumping into objects or people
  • Coordinates movement for playground and sports activities
  • Imitates body movements and hand motions while singing songs or playing Simon Says with relative ease

Warning Signs

  • Clumsy; falls or trips frequently
  • Has difficulty with body awareness or personal space
  • Seems overly active; unable to slow down
  • Avoids playground activities or sports
  • Walks on tiptoes
  • Has poor muscle tone; may seem weak or floppy
  • Has difficulty tolerating prone position (lying on stomach)
  • Has difficulty using the appropriate amount of force for using objects, playing with peers, or petting animals
  • Fatigues quickly; frequently leans on others or furniture for support
  • Difficulty executing novel motor activities/actions

Oral Motor

Developing Skills

  • Eats an increasing variety of food
  • Is willing to try new foods of various textures, flavors, and temperatures
  • Takes appropriately-sized bites of food
  • Independently drinks from an open cup without spilling

Warning Signs

  • Picky eater
  • Overstuffs food in mouth
  • Mouths non-food items or objects
  • Drools
  • Has speech that is difficult to understand
  • Gags when eating

Auditory

Developing Skills

  • Consistently responds to verbal cues without repetition
  • Is able to follow 2-3 step commands
  • Follows directions/instructions in group settings

Warning Signs

  • Overreacts to ordinary household or classroom sounds
  • Unable to filter out background noise; easily distracted
  • Difficulty understanding language

Tactile

Developing Skills

  • Identifies shapes and familiar objects by touch
  • Enjoys playing with toys/objects with various textures (ex. smooth, bumpy, soft, hard, cotton, felt, rubber, etc.)
  • Enjoys playing in environments with various textures (ex. grass, sand, etc.)
  • Wears clothing with a variety of textures and materials

Warning Signs

  • Under- or over-responsiveness to pain
  • Seems overly sensitive to touch; pulls away from touch
  • Dislikes self-care activities more than other children (ex. baths, haircuts, teeth brushing, nail trimming, etc.)
  • Shows discomfort getting messy
  • Appears sensitive to certain textures or fabrics; picky about fit of clothing, shoes
  • Seems unaware of being touched or bumped
  • Seems unaware of when he/she touches or bumps someone or something else
  • Constantly touches things; “learns” through fingers

Visual

Developing Skills

  • Easily sorts objects based on size, shape, or color
  • Assembles age-appropriate puzzles
  • Visually tracks a moving object (ex. ball)
  • Enjoys reading books
  • Able to maintain place when copying from the board or reading
  • Able to scan and locate objects in the room

Warning Signs

  • Easily distracted in busy or cluttered environments
  • Seems sensitive to light or prefers dark/dim lighting
  • Often tilts head or looks out of corner of eye
  • Has difficulty sustaining visual gaze or tracking moving objects
  • Reverses letter, numbers, or words
  • Has difficulty with spacing letter or words when writing or with visually organizing information on a page

Vestibular

Developing Skills

  • Maintains balance in everyday tasks and activities
  • Enjoys swinging, jumping, sliding and other playground activities
  • Has a good sense of rhythm and can clap to a beat
  • Uses the two sides of the body in a coordinated manner when performing bilateral tasks such as cutting with scissors, opening screw-on lids, skipping, swimming, etc.

Warning Signs

  • Dislikes car rides or becomes motion sick easily
  • Appears uncomfortable or fearful with swinging
  • Dislikes jumping or having feet off floor
  • Seeks twirling, spinning, rocking, or swinging more than other children
  • Gets dizzy easily or never gets dizzy
  • Poor endurance for standing or sitting; easily tires or needs to move/wiggle in order to sustain these positions
  • Poor posture; frequently leans on people or objects for support
  • Frequently trips, stumbles, or falls

Attention/Behavior

Developing Skills

  • Expresses self and makes needs known in an appropriate manner
  • Attends to and participates appropriately in school
  • Is able to play with one toy or theme for 15 minutes
  • Is able to pay attention during games and activities with friends and family

Warning Signs

  • Needs more verbal cuing to complete age-appropriate tasks than other children; poor work habits
  • Short attention span
  • Unable to attend in a busy environment (ex. classroom)
  • Aggressive or impulsive behavior
  • Seems to be in constant motion; unable to sit still

Social/Emotional

Developing Skills

  • Works and plays cooperatively with others
  • Exhibits good sportsmanship
  • Engages in imaginative and pretend play
  • Resolves conflicts with peers with some adult guidance (increased independence with age)
  • Self-calms when upset
  • Is able to cope with unexpected change
  • Is able to separate and be away from parents when with familiar persons (ex. babysitter/nanny, teacher, relatives)
  • Aware of safety precautions (ex. no talking to strangers, aware of risky/unsafe environments and behaviors)

Warning Signs

  • Has difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Has difficulty participating in group activities
  • Repetitive in play, plays the same things over and over, limited play skills
  • Strong need for routine, poor flexibility
  • Failure to explore
  • Difficulty with transitions—between toys/activities, between environments
  • Inability to settle down; sleep difficulties
  • Poor emotional regulation—easily upset or frustrated, large fluctuations in emotion, frequent outbursts/trantrums