This afternoon Maya called me from the other room and asked me to come watch her do something. She was all smiles and she showed me that she is finally able to twist Oreo cookies apart. I would say that is definitely a cool childhood milestone but perhaps one I wasn’t expecting and one I didn’t know she was working on. She said this was actually the second time she had done it and that the first was to offer her friend half when she was over our house the other day. How sweet is that?!! It also points to how motivating peers can be.
As Maya grows I am beginning to see what opens windows for her to make meaningful progress. Her fine motor skills have always been quite basic until this past year and a half. So what’s the change? From what I can tell it’s the combination of her motivation combined with activities/practice she enjoys:
1. Beginning piano (I never thought that one was going to be possible).
2. Having lots of small beads to work with in her Montessori school. Even these made me frustrated but they were combined with math learning which she is so passionate about.
3. Her love of card playing.
These fine motor changes make a lot of sense and align with what researchers are discovering about CP and how to create new motor pathways. They are finding that our kids and adults are having the greatest success in learning new skills when there are purposeful goals attached to the movements the therapists are working on. The motivation piece is something known to be important for all learning and is often mentioned as a key component for neuroplastic changes.
Here’s to our Oreo cookie milestone and the milestones you and your family members are reaching! Don’t be afraid to try something new and remember (this took me a while) that you can break everything down into VERY small components for your child to begin to piece together new skills.