What are Poor Gross Motor Skills? What are the symptoms and treatments of Poor Gross Motor Skills? And how can AC Cares assist a family in dealing with the symptoms of Poor Gross Motor Skills?

Gross motor skills are defined as abilities to do tasks that involve the large muscles in our torso, legs, and arms. Gross motor skills involved whole-body movements. For most, these skills are natural and automatic but gross motor skills are complex. They rely on the muscles and neurological system working in harmony. They influence balance, coordination and form the basis for fine motor skills (used to make small movements.) Gross motor skills are related to other essential abilities like balance, coordination, body awareness, physical strength and reaction time.

Poor gross motor skills seep into every aspect of an individual’s life. Completing key tasks at school, work, and home is a challenge.

Some examples of poor gross motor coordination skills (large movements) include:

  • Poor balance, such as difficulty in riding a bicycle, going up and down hills
  • Poor posture and fatigue, noticeable when one had difficulty standing for a long time as a result of weak muscle tone and floppy, unstable round the joints.
  • Poor integration of the two sides of the body, which will lead to difficulty with some sports involving jumping and cycling.
  • Poor hand-eye coordination, which can be seen when one has difficulty with team sports especially those which involve catching a ball and batting, as well as difficulties with driving a car.
  • Lack of rhythm when dancing or moving to a particular beat
  • Clumsy gait and movement, as well as difficulty changing directions, stopping, and starting actions.
  • Exaggerated ‘accessory movements’ such as flapping arms when running
  • Tendency to fall, trip, bump into things and people.

This differs from poor fine motor skills, which include things like holding a pen or pencil, drawing or writing neatly, using a keyboard, using scissors, or other tools.

Children develop at different rates. Developmental milestone timetables provide a general idea of at what age children should acquire skills and in what order. Individual differences in gross motor skills development are not uncommon. Kids may even hit these milestones early while others fall behind. It is possible that delays in gross motor skill development is not a medical issue and rather the child just needs time to catch up. However, physical concerns should be ruled out before making this assumption. Low muscle tone (hypotonia) and muscle and central nervous system disorders could be cause for gross motor delays.

Pediatricians should monitor gross motor development during routine checkups. They will compare your child’s development against general developmental milestones. Contact your pediatrician if you notice delays, changes in your child’s ability to perform movements, or skills that they used to be able to do. Parents and teachers are often the first to notice problems, as they observe the child daily. Assessment by a pediatrician and specialists (typically physical or occupational therapists) can determine severity and cause. After an assessment has been made, a therapeutic course of action can be decided on.

Essential abilities to the development of gross motor skills include muscle strength and tone, balance, stability, posture, and motor learning. Without these skills, it is likely gross motor skills will be delayed or underdeveloped. Deficits in these skills could be a sign of a problem that requires intervention. If a child falls behind peers, contact your pediatrician.

What causes poor gross motor skills?

Sometimes children reach their fine motor milestones later than expected and there is no underlying problem. Premature birth, slow muscle development, genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, development disorders such as autism or pervasive development disorder, and hypothyroidism are possible medical causes of poor gross motor skills.


Recommended treatments depend on the type, severity, and nature of the gross motor delay. Sometimes gross motor skill delays do not require intervention and resolve as the child continues to develop. If this is not the case, consistent physical therapy can aid a child in acquiring these skills. Activities and exercises to improve strength, muscle tone, coordination, balance, and body control can be greatly beneficial for individuals with poor gross motor skills.

It is essential that a child’s individual strengths and needs are at the forefront of designing a therapy program to develop gross motor skills. Types and causes of delays can vary drastically. Thus, it is especially relevant to focus on an individualistic approach. It may take more multiple sessions to land on a modality, or combination of modalities, that best suits the child.

Most children respond best to multimodal treatment. occupational therapists and physical therapists work together with the child, often aided by educational professionals. They use perceptual-motor training techniques to help improve gross motor skills. These techniques may include practice and repetition, cognitive and sensory integration therapy, kinesthetic training, and visual training. Techniques continued to be developed and tested for efficacy. It is important to play an active role in discussing therapeutic options with your child’s healthcare team.

What can parents do to help? Parents should ask their child’s therapists about the best ways to support their development at home. Therapists will likely give recommendations to parents for particular activities to work on at home to speed up the process of achieving certain skills.

How can we help?

At AC Cares, we can assist the family in dealing with Poor Gross Motor Skills in many ways. These would include:

Whether you are searching for a qualified doctor, treatment options, or a nutritionist, we have vetted, knowledgeable medical professionals to assist you on your journey.
Dealing with Poor Gross Motor Skills can be overwhelming and confusing for families, and we have the latest information on everything from new treatment options to medical trials to help our families in need.
Meeting with others facing similar challenges can provide a lifeline to those who feel alone, and our support groups and moderators are there to walk with you on this journey.
Group seminars and workshops on topics ranging from getting the support needed for your child at school to safety measures in the home provide instruction to prepare you for your role as advocate and caregiver.