Factors That Affect Motor Skills

Motor skills are learned sequences of movements. For example, walking is a motor skill, as is playing tennis, hand writing or boxing. Gross motor skills, such as running and jumping, use large muscles. Fine motor skills, such as writing and using scissors, utilize small muscles. Children and adults learn new motor skills throughout their lives. Some people have motor skills that are more advanced than other people.


Environment influences how well you develop motor skills, as well as the type of motor skills you develop. In early childhood play, children learn how to run, jump, climb, throw, sneak and crawl. A child that lives in the city might be limited in his potential motor skill development because he lives a more sedentary lifestyle. People who aren’t exposed to an activity won’t develop the motor skills necessary for the activity. For instance, a man who grew up in a non-musical home may lack the motor skills necessary to play guitar. A woman who lives in Arizona isn’t likely to learn the motor skills needed to ski, and if she tries to learn as an adult, might find it more difficult to master. Genetics are also a contributing environmental factor. A man with bad handwriting motor skills may pass this down to his children.


Many diseases also affect motor skills 3. Cerebral palsy is a series of brain conditions that affect the parts of the brain that control muscle coordination and can negatively affect motor skills. Parkinson’s Disease is a disease of the nervous system that gradually causes worsened control of motor skills, along with other neurological problems. Tourette’s Syndrome causes uncontrollable twitching that can make it difficult to learn new motor skills. Sensory integration dysfunction is defined by having difficulty understanding sensory input, such as sight, smell or touch. This can lead to poor motor skills, as a person can’t completely understand their surroundings.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries are defined as any injury to the head or brain that results in irreversible damage to the brain. These injuries occur when the head hits a hard object at a fast pace, such as during a car accident. Mild traumatic brain injury results in unconsciousness, loss of memory and some loss of motor skills. More serious traumatic brain injuries can be more damaging to your motor skills. During an accident involving the head, the brain bounces around inside the skull, which creates injury to many parts of the brain. This can cause the nerve cells to tear apart from each other, disrupting the brain’s communication pathways to the limbs. Traumatic brain injuries can also lead to personality and behavioral changes.