Gross and fine motor difficulties in LD

Fine motor skills are small movements such as picking up small objects and holding a spoon, that use the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue. Gross motor skills are the bigger movements such as rolling over and sitting that use the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet. In learning disability children can have both fine and gross motor skills difficulties.


  • Appears awkward and clumsy; often drops things, spills things, knocks things over.
  • Has difficulty picking up and using small objects such as puzzle pieces.
  • Has trouble with buttons, hooks, and zippers when dressing; finds it very difficult to tie shoes.
  • Unsuccessful in games and activities that involve hand skills (cat’s cradle, piano lessons, basketball).
  • Poor colouring ability; cannot keep within lines.
  • Art work looks immature for age (drawings from imagination are usually better than efforts at copying designs).
  • Difficulty using scissors.
  • Awkward pencil grip (may hold pencil too loosely or too tightly).
  • Delays in learning to write; writing is large and immature, letters and numbers are poorly formed.
  • Poor handwriting (sloppy, illegible, poor spacing, inconsistent letter size, no consistent style, strays from lines on paper).
  • Papers are messy (torn and crumpled with many cross‐outs, smudges, and incomplete erasures).
  • Marked slowness, exceptional effort, and frustration noted during writing tasks.
  • In severe cases, difficulty learning keyboard skills.
  • General co-ordination and balance.

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