Motor Skills


Motor skills are the motions and movements of a person. These movements are controlled by the brain, nervous system, and muscles working together. Because the cerebellum is deeply interconnected with the sensory-motor areas of the brain superficial siderosis patients may often develop problems completing certain types of motions. Progressive neuropathy may affect the nerves that control muscles while ataxia will affect your movement control. There are two categories of motor skills- Fine Motor Skills and Gross Motor Skills.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skill motions require manual dexterity, coordination of the fingers and hands working together with your vision.

Example of Fine Motor Skills

  • Turning doorknobs, keys, and locks
  • Putting a plug into a socket
  • Buttoning and unbuttoning clothes
  • Opening and closing zippers
  • Fastening snaps and buckles
  • Tying shoelaces
  • Brushing teeth and flossing
  • Turning a screwdriver or using plyers

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills are whole-body movements that involve not only muscle control but also need to work in conjunction with balance and coordination. Motor-based neuropathy affects gross motor skills, the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.

Examples of Gross Motor Skills

  • sitting down
  • standing up
  • walking
  • running
  • jumping
  • lifting (untensils, hairbrush, barbell or weights — they all count)
  • kicking

Managing Loss of Motor Skills

Physical therapy and exercises designed to control ataxia progression will help with maintaining your gross motor skills but often when superficial siderosis begins to interfere with your dexterity, finding ways to improve or maintain the function of your hands is overlooked.

Ocupational Therapy

Occupational therapists will help a person with their problems with the activities of daily living, including self-feeding, dressing, grooming, bathing, and toileting, as well as job performance.  In general, occupational therapists will train a person in arm and hand use, eye-hand coordination, posture as it relates to stability for arm use, and the intellectual understanding necessary to perform motor tasks

Fine Motor Skill Options

  • Practice Yoga
  • Exercise with Therapy Putty, play-dough, or clay
  • Use addaptive writing aids
  • Use of addaptive aids when dressing like button hooks, zipper pulls, velcro shoe fasteners, or shoe horns
  • Cooking with nonskid placemats, utensils with oversized or angled handles, and rocking T-knives for cutting
  • Eating with weighted spoons and knives, using flatware with specialized handles
  • Using an electric toothbrush, electric razor, or wall mounted hair dryer

Updated: October 23, 2021

Sources: Superficial siderosis is a rare neurologic disease characterized by progressive sensorineural hearing loss, cerebellar ataxia, pyramidal signs, and neuroimaging findings revealing hemosiderin deposits in the spinal and cranial leptomeninges and subpial layer. The disease progresses slowly, and patients may present with mild cognitive impairment, nystagmus, dysmetria, spasticity, dysdiadochokinesia, dysarthria, hyperreflexia, and Babinski signs. Additional features reported include dementia, urinary incontinence, anosmia, ageusia, and anisocoria. Superficial siderosis MedGen UID: 831707 •Concept ID: CN226971 •Finding Orphanet: ORPHA247245
Living With SuperficialSiderosis Website PubMed Reference Library 
Back to top button