Improving manual dexterity

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Yokel, Mar 31, 2012.

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  1. Since suffering a brain injury as a seven year old, I have suffered from poor manual dexterity. After being discharged from hospital, it was down to my parents and teachers to teach me how to use my hands, eat, wash, dress, write, and similar things. At no point did I see anyone like an occupational therapist or anyone like that. To be honest, the lack of after hospital care was staggering. As such I have grown up with limited manual dexterity and other deficits.

    This has been a problem for me, particularly since my occupational/professional background is in Electronics, and the limited dexterity issue has caused problems. It has also caused problems in other areas of life. I have always had the view that this was something that could not be fixed.

    More recently, I have become more aware of neuroscience related issues, and become aware of the fact that fine motor control is a skill that has to be learnt. Children learn it as toddlers, however, post hospital I never had an opportunity to learn these skills again.

    Entering "manual dexterity" into Google tends to find pages on internet forums that discuss exercises that medical or dental students might use to improve their dexterity. Can anyone suggest anything that might help?
  2. Get a pair of chopsticks and catch flies. Wax on, wax off, paint the fence.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. You really need to see an OT and physio to ensure you get the correct assessment before treatment.

    Just because you haven't seen one so far doesn't mean there isn't a need and you can't now.
  4. Take piano lessons. Constant (repetative) practice is good for motor control (the finer control that is) and finger dexterity. Even the simplest tune needs hand-eye and hand-ear (no joke) coordination. You'll learn to lift your fingers independently of each other and with varying pressure.

    It's a lot of fun and you learn to play a few songs. If you have to do excercises than this will be the most enjoyable one because you won't see it as "therapy". You just want to learn that bloody tune.

    Failing that, you could always take up fingering prostitutes.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Buy lots of lego.

  6. Any other suggestions - ideally of a more useful nature? Getting a proper assesment seems like good advice, and the piano idea also seems reasonable (but I haven't got the dexterity) but lego? Why? I had that as a kid, and cannot remember needing any great level of dexterity?

    Chopsticks - if only I had the dexterity.
  7. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    The above is good advice.
  8. Play computer games such as cod, battlefield, driving games etc basically action games.
  9. God help me, I'm going to have to agree with Buzz. Lego is a great and proven idea.
  10. I didn't had the dexterity either when I was four. The whole point is you'll improve it when you learn to play, Einstein. :)
  11. Fang_Farrier

    Fang_Farrier LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I would suggest a good old fashioned pack of playing cards, shuffling dealing, lifting cards from a table will healp with both proprioception(feeling as in one or two cards thickness) and manual dexterity.

    You can buy a bag of split yellow peas and one of dried green peas, mix together and then separate!

    Tehlego idea is not such a bad one, again you have small pieces that you have to firstly separate from a pile of other pieces before getting into the right direction before joining them together.

    You could also try knitting or embrodiery, some embrodiery kits are relatively cheap at differing levels of fineness and you'll have presents to give away at the end!

    If you want to learn as I did as a student, get your self a pig's head, a scapel(a stanlet knife would do), a needle and some thread. Slash the pig's head into bits and then sew it back together again so that it's a mummy would recognise it!
  12. Looking at some of these replies makes me think that I do need an assessment! Thanks for them, although some do not apply.

    I had Lego as a kid, and cannot remember any major problems. I also had a couple of those "1001 in 1" electronics kits where you connected things together by placing wires in between spring connectors.

    I can do most of the practical tasks of electronics - soldering, dealing with cables, connectors, etc, but not very well - although to be honest I would never be employed as a solderer/wireperson. I would benefit from improvement.

    A fairly standard soldering test involves soldering so many cables to a D type connector, cutting these cables to the required length and putting other connectors on the other end. I have never managed to get round to it, but have intended to purchase ten D type connectors and some cable, try to find my soldering iron (and suitable tip) and practise. By possibly adjusting the technique, doing it in a logical fashion, and using a vice, I can get better.

    On another thread in another forum I have also mentioned the possibility of doing some kits (from Maplin etc) to develop practical and faultfinding skills, but it has gone on the back burner as I have had other issues to contend with.

    As I suspect there is nothing I can do about the tremor in my right hand, I wonder how much my dexterity can improve by. I can remember the crap I endured as a kid, being bollocked for not being able to play musical instruments, being left to work on my own (again - got bollockings for that) when doing any sort of practical work, etc. Never got any treatment though. The fact that I have any dexterity at all is entirely down to my parents and my primary school teachers.


    I got bollocked at school for not being able to knit. Honestly!

    Not being a Maxillofacial (sp?) Surgeon I think that is going to far. I did however think about skinning oranges with a scalpel. It isn't only medical types who use scalpels!
  13. Get a sharp knife.

    splay your hand on a hard surface.

    jab the knife in to hte hard surface between your fingers.

    Speed up.

    speed up.

    speed up.

    speed up.

    and seek specialist advice and assessment.
  14. Manual dexterity - is there any other kind?
  15. Yes