As a pediatric occupational therapist, I would guess that every third IEP I have seen for preschool children includes some version of being able to cut with scissors. Understanding anatomy and neurology certainly help therapists understand why a child struggles. But when teaching a motor skill, it also helps to know what tools make a difference.
The type of paper offered to children can make such a huge difference that I am devoting an entire blog post to it.
Here is the simplest suggestions that I can make:
- The younger or more challenged the child, the more important paper selection will be.
- Moderately stiff paper will be most successful for almost all children.
- Cheap printer paper is the equivalent of an adult cutting out a trapezoid from a facial tissue.
- The younger the child, the smaller the paper should be, down to 4 or 5 inches square. Paper smaller than this size requires greater grasp control. Paper sized 8.5×11 inches is more difficult for almost all children under 5 to control.
- Slightly textured drawing paper provides some tactile input for children that struggle with sensory registration.
- Every part of a high-quality piece of paper can be used. Paper strips can be made, scraps can become collages, etc. There is no need to waste paper.
To learn why I only use one type of safety scissors, read:
Lakeshore Scissors for Toddlers That Only Cut the Paper, Not the Toddler