How to Improve Fine Motor Skills in Adults through Occupational Therapy?

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How to Improve Fine Motor Skills in Adults through Occupational Therapy?

Fine motor skills are those that need the muscular, skeletal, and neurological systems to work together to make small, coordinated motions with the hands and fingers. Adults may effectively rewire their brains with your help; the more you work the damaged areas, the faster the brain relearns motions. Adults with developmental coordination disorder have considerable motor coordination impairments, which cause significant disturbance in their daily life. Handwriting, self-care, cooking, housework, and shopping are all hampered by the disorder’s poor fine motor skills. Fine motor abilities are necessary for executing everyday chores such as self-care on a basic level. Examples are managing clothes fastenings, brushing one’s teeth and pencil abilities, and inability to build appropriate life skills independence such as getting dressed and self-feeding. Acquired brain injury, Cerebral Palsy, and Developmental Coordination Disorder in adults are all conditions that create symptoms that affect the skills needed to accomplish fine motor motions. In the context of occupational therapy, fine motor abilities include handling things, writing, cutting with scissors, tying shoes, and attaching buttons. These abilities are required for self-care and involvement in-home activities. Patients can learn and strengthen these skills through occupational therapy (OT).

What Is Occupational Therapy for Motor Skills?

Fine motor skills, described as the ability to properly use the complex musculature of our hands with sufficient strength, dexterity, and coordination in order to grasp, manipulate, and execute functional activities, are what we call them in occupational therapy.

Therapy Exercises

Fine motor abilities can also be improved with occupational therapy exercises. Using a variety of materials will also assist you in getting the most from the intervention. You can also practice your hand movements by sitting at a table. You can take action and practice if you’re concerned about your fine motor skills. 


Molding play-dough is another activity that will help you improve your fine-motor abilities. The act of rolling dough with a plastic knife can be difficult, but a squeezing exercise can help. It also makes controlling the motion of things easier. Using your fingertips, you can practice pinching. This is a simple talent to pick up. When it comes to simple chores, you should practice them on a regular basis. Patients will learn how to open and close containers and pick up pills using a simulated medication management kit. This is a high-level cognitive activity.

A shuffled deck of cards

It can assist you in strengthening your hand muscles and improving your grasp on a pen or pencil. If you can’t do these tasks, you can always practice your fine-motor abilities by playing card games. You may strengthen your hand muscles by playing games with shuffled decks of cards.

The simulation equipment

This will also assist participants in picking up and reopening a small pill container in addition to the simulated drug. This will help to develop the hand muscles as well as the brain’s related areas. It’s also a good idea to put these skills to use. Dry beans, coins, little beads, or even grains of rice might be used in picking up activities. People’s fine motor skills will be developed by using simulated activities and a simulated medication management kit to teach them how to manage their medications.

Moving Little Things

The most effective approach to develop your fine motor skills among the lot is an excellent way to strengthen your fingers. You may also spin small things in addition to moving them. Moving the small object, whether it’s a spoon, a pen, or a pencil, can help you improve your skills. Even the most basic of these activities can help you strengthen your hand and finger muscles.

Making use of sensory fiber optics

Practicing fine motor skills with sensory fiber optics or other tools is a wonderful technique to help people increase muscle tone. Sensory fiber optics and pennies, in addition to fine motor skills, are excellent strategies to build hand strength. These workouts will not only strengthen your hand and improve your general posture, but they will also improve your hand dexterity. You can choose a way that fits your lifestyle in addition to the different possibilities for developing your hand. Strengthening your fine motor skills is done in a more tranquil and pleasant manner.

Why Is It Vital for Adults to Have Fine Motor Skills?

Fine motor abilities are required for performing basic self-care tasks (e.g., manipulating clothes fastenings, opening lunch boxes, and brushing teeth) as well as pencil skills. They are also unable to build appropriate life skills independence (such as getting dressed and feeding themselves).

What Can You Do to Improve Your Fine Motor Skills?

The key to recovering fine motor skills after a stroke is to do high repetitions of targeted exercises on a regular basis. This activates neuroplasticity, the brain’s rewiring, and recovery mechanism. Start with passive exercises and stretching if you have significant spasticity, which typically results in clenched hands after a stroke. The passive exercise entails guiding your affected hand through a movement, either with the assistance of a therapist or with the use of your non-affected hand. Both passive and physical exercise stimulates the brain and promotes neuroplasticity, which aids in the recovery of impaired functions. Your fine motor abilities will develop as you practice more. The brain’s neuroplasticity never runs out, so even if it’s been months since your stroke and your recovery appears to be slowing, there’s still hope. Participating in occupational therapy is one of the most effective strategies to practice targeted hand exercises and strengthen your fine motor skills.

Occupational Therapy Activities for Fine Motor Skills

Many of the actions you do every day, such as grooming, feeding, and dressing, are practiced in occupational therapy. The majority of these daily chores necessitate fine motor skills, making it a great and practical strategy to attain a high repetition of therapeutic movements. Fine motor abilities are required for everything from grasping your shirt to pulling up your zipper and buttoning your jeans. Because these are tasks you do on a regular basis, it’s easy to see how these abilities might be used in the real world. Occupational therapists can also create a home workout program for you that uses common household items to help you maintain you’re fine motor skills on your own. This could include activities that are tailored to your ability level in order to challenge your fine motor skills without being too easy or challenging. Additionally, an occupational therapist might suggest adaptive solutions to help you maintain your independence as you concentrate on fine motor skills development. It takes time to improve your fine motor abilities. While you may struggle at first to complete the activities, if you trust the process and practice regularly, you will excite the brain and create adaptive changes.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor activities are activities that focus on fine motor abilities and are done on a daily basis. These activities promote a variety of fine motor abilities, such as:

Pincer Grasp

The act of pinching the thumb and index finger together to grip something is known as a pincer grasp.

Finger Isolation

Finger isolation is the act of using only one finger to perform actions such as pushing or pointing.

Thumb Opposition

Tripod Grasp

Squeezing or holding something with the thumb and other fingers while strengthening the “web gap” between the thumb and index finger.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Using the pincer grip with the object resting on the middle finger, similar to how you would hold a pencil.

When the hands and what the eyes see are in sync, the coordination of visual input and the processing of that visual information for coordinated movement of the hands is referred to as eye-hand coordination or visual-motor abilities. These abilities have an impact on fine motor dexterity and motor movements in a variety of functional tasks that involve manipulating motions and objects.

Bilateral Coordination

Bilateral coordination occurs when both hands collaborate with each other.

Midline Integration

Midline integration is concerned with hand dominance and the ability to reach across one’s midline, which separates the left and right sides of the body. 

Gross Grasp

Squeezing all of the fingers together around an object such as the handle of a suitcase is known as a gross grasp. In skills like handwriting and scissor use, having a stronghold is essential. To perform these activities, you must squeeze your entire hand shut while maintaining endurance. For these functional skills, the development of the hand arch and thumb webspace is critical, and gross grasp also plays a role.

Separation of the sides of the hand

The imaginary line drawn from your wrist directly down the middle of your hand and between your ring and middle fingers, separating the precision side of your hand (thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger) from the power side of your hand (ring finger and middle finger), is known as separation of the sides of the hand (pinkie finger and ring finger). In functional tasks, these two sides collaborate in skilled actions with precision and power grab.

Types of Fine Motor Activities

Occupational therapy uses a variety of fine motor activities, which are divided down into a few categories.


It may not appear so, but getting dressed necessitates a great deal of fine motor skill. Clamping buttons, putting on jewels, and tying shoes are all excellent ways to strengthen your fine motor skills.

Managing Medication

Occupational therapy patients frequently have to deal with some type of medication. Those with fine motor skill deficits can benefit from this medicine by practicing putting little tablets into pillboxes or bottles.


Grooming oneself properly is another action that necessitates the use of fine motor skills. Activities that target these tiny muscles include applying makeup, tweezing your brows, and shaving. However, some of these grooming tasks might be harmful; therefore, they should always be supervised.


When it comes to eating, the act of actually feeding yourself necessitates a great deal of fine motor control. It takes a lot of coordination to hold a fork or spoon, properly place food on your utensil, and then get the food into your mouth, so it’s a fantastic activity to practice.

Managing Containers

Containers for serving food, such as those found at the grocery store, necessitate the use of numerous fine motor skills. Managing containers is a terrific fine motor task, from unscrewing a jar of tomato sauce to opening a plastic container of takeout Thai food.

Managing Money

Managing money, from paper bills to microscopic coins, is difficult when your fine motor skills are impaired. Counting money or taking it in and out of a wallet is a common daily activity that occupational therapy can help with.


Using various types of locks necessitates dexterity in terms of fine motor abilities. Turn likes, sliding locks, and combination locks are all excellent ways for folks to hone their fine motor skills.


Typing on a computer is almost a necessity in the digital age. Typing on a keyboard as a sort of fine motor activity can help people who have lost their fine motor skills relearn a lot.


There’s a reason why small children with low fine motor abilities have scribbles that are sloppy. It necessitates a great deal of coordination and practice. As a fine motor activity in occupational therapy, one could desire to write in a journal.

Meal Preparation

Cooking and food preparation are other excellent ways to improve fine motor skills. Fine motor activities such as chopping, stirring, and picking up kitchen items can be challenging. Most meal preparation activities, like grooming, should be done under adult supervision.

Shuffling Cards

There are a plethora of entertaining methods to shuffle a deck of cards, many of which are excellent for fine motor skill development. Playing card games and taking turns shuffling is a fantastic fine motor practice in occupational therapy.

Screwing and Unscrewing

Screwing and unscrewing things is no small task for fine motor skills, whether they are water bottles or jam jars. It’s one of the most effective fine motor activities for gaining trust in those tools.


Occupational therapy can help people regain fine motor abilities that have been lost. Because stroke survivors perform regular activities that need fine motor skills, occupational therapy is extremely beneficial. It’s also a good approach to work on therapeutic motions that require a lot of repetition. If you have a disability, working with a physical therapist to enhance your fine-motor abilities can be beneficial. You can assist yourself in recuperate by doing a range of activities.

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