Friday, October 28, 2016

Tips to Promote Scissor Skills

The components of scissor skills for children translate over to a child's everyday activities: to learn and engage in play as much as possible and to increase independence in ADL's/IADL's. Utilizing scissors is a part of learning, school, and play.

In order to perform cutting skills and utilize scissors well, a child should ideally have the following:
-Posture: trunk control sitting in a chair, correct height of desk/table for cutting so child isn't reaching up with shoulders to cut.
-Shoulder stability: It's best if shoulder's are not abducting excessively during cutting. There should be emphasis on cutting with arms down toward the trunk while cutting.
-Arm/wrist control:  Needed for the "just right" amount of pronation/supination (arm position) while cutting. Controlled movement is the arms/wrist is ideal.
-Fine motor skills: Thumb isolation while moving the index and middle fingers independently, incorporating the open/close motion of scissors. Control is needed to utilize scissors!

Start with a "thumbs-up" position! 

-Hand-eye Coordination: To visually see what they're cutting and orient the direction of cut (straight line, circle, zigzag, etc).
  • A visual cue (sticker, dot, etc) would be helpful for where to put their non scissor hand

-Bilateral Integration: One hand is needed to hold the paper/item and one hand to use the scissors (see above).
  • Before starting cutting, have a child rip paper in half. This is using both hands together to rip and is great for hand strengthening and thumb/index finger isolation.
    From: Pre-K Pages

-Attention: Attention to task is crucial for using scissors to be successful since eyes and hands are involved all together.
-Hand Strength: Needed for the open/close motion of scissors known as squeezing and releasing an object.
  • Promote with: Spray bottles, condiment bottles, turkey basters, salad tongs
Options for scissors: right-handed scissors, left handed scissors, and adapted scissors. Below are a few options of adapted scissors:

Loop Handle Scissors  would be great for students not able to isolate fingers into the scissors well and who need more emphasis on grasping the open/close concept of scissors since they are self-opening scissors.

Training scissors  are great for beginning to teach students how to snip and cut. Instead of the student on their own independently, the therapist can model with them to feel the motion of cutting.

Preschool Training Scissors  are a great learning tool for using scissors. The lever on these scissors can be moved so that when opening/closing the scissors is mastered, the lever is switched and they turn into normal closing scissors.

Lastly, ideas to cut and make it fun/easy for beginners:
  • Play-Doh
  • Straws
  • Tinfoil
  • Thick foam sheets
  • Thick cardstock paper/construction paper 
  • Sponges
  • Rubberbands
  • Wikki Stix
  • Index cards

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