Scissors: Things to Watch for:

When I watch a child using scissors I am checking for the following:

1. Which hand? Is it consistent with his writing hand if older than 4 years of age.  Younger children will switch off hands as they are developing skills needed in two handed tasks such as buttoning, lacing, scissor usage. Many left handers use scissors with their right hand but at times  trouble manipulating the paper with their dominant left hand is seen.

2. 5 years and up: Are they able to stay on the line? Some children with convergence insufficiency have trouble staying on the line.  They always appear to be just barely off the line.  They may also have written letters just barely floating above the line.  Watch out for visual related signs.

3. Is there one side of the shape that is always cut awkwardly or inaccurately?  Why? Is it a visual issue, a visual spatial issue (prefers one side of the body to the other?), or a motor issue with hand dominance or fine motor coordination?

4. Where are scissors placed?  Children with poor trunk control may lean on the table resting on their elbows to use scissors.

5. Does the scissor hand move?  Some children who still have mixed hand dominance after age 5 will hold the scissors in their writing hand but will not move the scissors at all other than opening and closing them.  They depend on the hand holding the paper to do all the work!

6. Can the fingers fit into the handles correctly with the remaining fingers tucked out of the way?  Children who are not able to use the thumb, index, and middle fingers as a unit and the ring and little finger as a unit, often have trouble with using scissors as well as tying shoes!  Encourage “hand division” with activities prior to cutting: placing pegs with thumb, index, and middle finger is an example.


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