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Occupational Therapy Motor Skills Resource Pack

The purpose of this resource pack is to give school staff and parents ideas to support their children to practise and develop skills prior to referring to Occupational Therapy. 

School staff and parents should work together and use this resource pack to help with developing an appropriate support plan as part of the Graduated Approach to Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)- Assess, Plan, Do, Review. For more information visit: https://www.suffolksendiass.co.uk/education/sen-support

This pack is intended as a guide only, and the strategies are appropriate for children with motor skills difficulties. The Occupational Therapy service should always be consulted if:

  • The need appears more complex than the solutions offered 
  • The child has a neurological condition e.g. Cerebral Palsy which may impact upon the appropriateness of strategies given 
  • The child has a degenerative condition and their needs are changing rapidly
  • There are safety concerns related to the activity or strategies provided

We hope that by providing advice and strategies at a universal level, a more specialised and targeted service can be provided for children who are presenting with complex difficulties.

The Occupational Therapy Service offers a Motor Skills and Self-Care Workshop which aims to help school staff better understand how to use this resource pack. Parents can also sign up to the workshop if they are interested to know more. This workshop is provided free of charge. Staff/parents should email icps.childrensot@wsh.nhs.uk to sign up. Please write ‘Motor Skills Workshop’ in the subject line. 

How to use the pack:

  • Many of the ideas can be incorporated into Finger/Hand Gym sessions and Gym Trail sessions in school, but can also be incorporated into everyday activities in the classroom and at home during leisure activities. Many of the ideas can be delivered as whole school/whole class approaches and can be of benefit to many children and not just individuals with SEN. 
  • The recommended frequency of activities is detailed on the individual worksheets.
  • The activities should be carried out for a minimum of one school term to allow for progress.
  • Identify which difficulties the child is experiencing from the table below and then refer to the relevant worksheet.

Area of Difficulty

Refer to Worksheet

Balance, Coordination and Motor Planning

A

Ball skills

B

Sitting Posture

C

Attention and Focus

D

Scissor Skills and Using a Ruler

E

Pre-Writing/Early Pencil Skills

F

Handwriting

G

Organisational Skills

H

Dressing skills

I

Cutlery Skills

J

Toileting

K

Teeth brushing

L

Washing Body and Hair

M

Managing Periods

N

 

What to do if expected progress is not seen:

  • If the child is not making progress and/or school staff/parents feel further advice is required then a referral to Occupational Therapy may be appropriate. The worksheet/record forms in this pack can be used to support the referral as they provide evidence of strategies already trialled. 
  • Occupational Therapy referral criteria for children with motor skills difficulties:
    • Children in Reception class to end of Year 7 can be referred by the school SENCO, Paediatrician or Physiotherapist, GP referrals are no longer accepted. 
    • Children who present with difficulties in 3 or more functional areas e.g. personal care (e.g. dressing, using cutlery), classroom-based fine motor skill activities (e.g. handwriting, using scissors) and/or gross motor activities (e.g. balance, ball skills, moving safely around environment). 
    • Evidence of strategies already tried must be provided with the referral. Please send a copy of the relevant worksheet with the referral form.  
  • The Suffolk NHS Paediatric Occupational Therapy Service does not offer a diagnostic service for Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia. Where a child’s specific difficulties have a significant impact on access to the education curriculum, independence skills, fine motor and functional abilities; assessment will be completed and advice and strategies will be given to provide opportunities to improve those skills.    
  • The ICPS (Integrated Community Paediatric Services) referral form can be found at www.wsh.nhs.uk/Services-A-Z/Childrens-services/Childrens-community-services/Information-for-professionals.aspx 

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b. Ball Skills

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This Year

c. Sitting Posture

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This Year

d. Attention and Focus

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This Year

e. Scissor Skills and Using a Ruler

Release Date
This Year

f. Pre-Writing Early Pencil Skills

Release Date
This Year

g. Handwriting

Release Date
This Year

h. Organisational Skills

Release Date
This Year

i. Dressing

Release Date
This Year

j. Cutlery Skills

Release Date
This Year
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