What are gross motor skills?


What are gross motor skills and why are they important?

Gross motor skills are the abilities which allow whole body movement, and use the large muscles (core, trunk, arms and legs).  

Gross motor skills include; muscle strength and endurance; motor planning and learning; balance; coordination; postural control; body awareness and crossing midline.

Gross motor skills are important because they allow children to engage in everyday tasks such as walking and running, climbing and catching and throwing a ball. They are also necessary for self-care tasks such as dressing and climbing in and out of bed.

Gross motor skills are the building blocks for many other skills. For example, for a child to sit at a table and complete a fine motor activity (drawing, using scissors, playing with playdoh etc.) they require core/postural control, upper body strength, and crossing midline skills to be developed.


How do I know if my child has difficulties with gross motor skills?

Children with gross motor challenges often display:

  • Avoidance, frustration, or disinterest in physical tasks

  • Fatigue with a physical task

  • Sitting on the floor with their legs in a ‘W’ position

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills (handwriting, using scissors)

  • Difficulty with attention

  • Slumping or slouching while sitting


What next?

Our Occupational Therapist at Acorn Autism can support your child develop their gross motor, fine motor, sensory, and daily living skills.

Please contact Acorn Autism for more information.