Children's ability to master basic tasks declining, study finds

Children's ability to master basic tasks declining, study finds

There are claims that motor development skills of Irish children are not progressing at the expected rate.

Health researchers at DCU's School of Health and Human Performance have found that the ability of children to master basic tasks is not meeting developmental milestones for fine motor skills .

The results come from a sample of 253 children in Irish primary schools and show that 36% of 11-12 year-olds are below average in tasks such as drawing shapes and sorting cards.

It also found that 13% of children in second class did not match their respective milestone - while 14% of fourth class children also had difficulties.

David Gaul from UCD, one of the lead researchers of the project, says the results are worrying.

"These basic tasks have been used for years to establish, and they're well established, norms of values for young children for tasks they do in everyday life and in school," he said.

"It's particularly alarming that these basic skills are not being developed at the rate that they have previously been developed."

Mr Gaul said that there is a generational shift happening with developments in technology.

"These children are developing other fine motor skills - for example, like how to zoom in on tablets and to scroll side-to-side on smartphones," she said.

"These are skills that we previously haven't really used before,

"[So while] they're progressing those skills which we don't have assessments to target them, they are deteriorating in the manual dexterity elements."

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