Gross Motor Difficulties


Gross motor is a term used to describe the ability to produce smooth, fluid and accurate movements needed to compete in sport, move through space safely, navigate new layouts and engage in a range of playground activities. The term gross motor can be translated literally into large movements, referring to movements completed by the whole body, rather than fine motor movements which only concern the intricate movements of the hand.

Children who struggle with movement can often have difficulty balancing, moving around the home and school environment safely, engaging in P.E and competing in sport. An occupational therapist would firstly assess how your child functions in activities and analyse their gross motor skills, before suggesting treatment options. During this analysis of gross motor skills, the occupational therapist would use their knowledge to unpick the components of gross motor skills and determine which aspects the child is struggling with most.

Components of Gross Motor skills

  • Balance
  • Proprioception
  • Sensory regulation of limbs and muscles
  • Hand-eye co-ordination
  • Motor planning and execution
  • Visual perception
  • Midline orientation
  • Bilateral integration
  • Spatial awareness
  • Temporal awareness
A combination of these components of gross motor skills are needed to perform activities, for example to be able to successfully catch a ball, a child must maintain balance, plan when they want to move (motor planning and execution) and orientate their hands towards the middle of the body (midline orientation and bilateral integration) in time with the flight and speed of the ball (spatial awareness and temporal awareness and hand-eye co-ordination). Therefore, what seemed to be a simple task actually requires a great deal of gross motor co-ordination and skills.

Importance of gross motor skills


Gross motor skills are an important component of development and become a vital part of engaging in activities across many areas, such as at home, in lessons, in the playground or playing outside with friends and sport. Some of the common difficulties to be aware of are if your child is:
  • Finding it hard in P.E
  • Having difficulty running/hopping/jumping/skipping etc
  • Unable to balance effectively
  • Struggling to throw or catch
  • Having difficulty moving in space (proprioception)
  • Having difficulty completing complex movements
  • Unable to stand and complete tasks successfully
  • Clumsy and un-coordinated

How Occupational Therapy can help?


An occupational therapist would analyse the child's gross motor skills in relation to a task, determine where the deficit lies and provide treatment that aims to improve these. Treatment would include completing activities that involve the use of gross motor skills, the theory being that through practicing tasks and activities that use the components of gross motor skills, children will begin to develop and improve the aspects upon which they're struggling with and subsequently the overall task performance of gross motor activities will improve.

If you think your child is clumsy, un-coordinated or has any of the associated difficulties of poor gross motor skills, please contact us for more information regarding an assessment and treatment. We would be able to provide you with our nearest clinic, come to the child's school or come to your home address during the therapy process. Please email office@otforkids.co.uk or call us on 0330 223 0888


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Please contact one of our experienced occupational therapists today and we will gladly discuss how we can help and what services we can offer you.

Why choose us?

  • Caring and Professional Service
  • Variety of services available
  • First class Occupational Therapists
  • Modern clinics
  • Saturday and Sunday appointments available
  • Able to see you at home, in school or in one of our clinics
  • Registered with the Health Professions Council and the British Association of Occupational Therapy

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Below is a list of our clinics, however, we operate nationwide.

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We run a range of Groups for children aged 0-18 years.

What people say about us...

OT for Kids have been a great help in aiding my son Jake with coping with his dyspraxia both at home and in school. They came out to our house and completed the assessment at home.

The assessment and report proved beneficial in our discussions with Jake's school and we are very pleased with the outcome the report has helped us achieve.
Jackie, parent.
At our school, there are many children who have difficulty forming letters correctly, concentrate or perform well in P.E, which can impact greatly on their learning. With the support and OT Groups available from OT for Kids, these children have made great progress and are now at a level which is not so concerning. As a teacher and SENCO, I thoroughly enjoyed working (and learning) from the Occupational Therapist.
Emily, SENCO and Teacher.
As a case manager, I regularly deal with many private companies. I found OT for Kids to be highly professional, reliable and provide me with flexible appointments that suited both me and my clients. The OT completed a comprehensive assessment and report, which was not only clear, concise and an accurate reflection of the difficulties, but it was returned to me quickly.
John, Case Manager.
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