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How to help in-hand manipulation skills

How to help in-hand manipulation skills – what are these?

Well, in simple terms, it means it is the ability to pick up and use an object with only one hand.

There are three primary in-hand manipulation skills:

  • Rotation – this allows a child to move objects from the palm of their hand to the fingertips and back using one hand only. For example, moving coins or marbles from the palm to the fingertips and then putting them into a coin bank or marble box. If a child does not have this skill, they may use both hands that only require one.
  • Shift – this is the ability to move objects between fingers. For example, when using the fingertips to try and separate two pieces of paper stuck together or even when moving the fingers to the bottom of a pencil or pen to write something. If a child has difficulties in this area, they will find it challenging with their fine motor tasks, dropping objects.
  • Translation – a simple rotation is the ability to roll a small object between the fingertips and thumb. For example, when trying to open a small bottle. A complex rotation is the ability to turn an object end over end. For example, turning the pencil upside down to use the eraser on the other end. Again, this is vital for a child’s fine motor skills and you will find the child drops objects more frequently and not be able to manipulate small objects by using only one hand.
Some fab ideas!

So, how to help in-hand manipulation skills. Here are a few more activities to help the above areas:

  • Rotation – try rotating the pencil from the lead side to the eraser side, use a shape sorter that needs to be rotated to fit into the correct slot or even practice putting and taking off lids/caps from bottles.
  • Shift – practice cutting by turning the paper with one hand and using scissors in the other, turn pages in a book and play card games that encourages the child to pick up one card at a time (matching game etc).
  • Translation – crumple a piece of paper using one hand, picking coins out of a purse, picking up small objects from the floor or table, small sweets but pick up and eat one at a time.

By conducting activities such as the above, you will see a difference in your child’s manipulation skills!

Try the play dough song:

Other handwriting tips:

Let us know how you get on!

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