4 year old with delayed motor development
possibly due to chronic technology use
Whenever I run my training workshops about the impact of technology on motor development I think about this young man. Now he's probably 6 or 7 years old now, but when I met him he was 4. I went in to his home to support his sister who has an intellectual disability.
What I observed was a busy family of 4 children, mum and dad who were all extremely stressed and overwhelmed with their daughter who has special needs. When I observed this 4 year old boy, I could see him staring at his smart device (tablet). He looked up at me to politely to say hello and goodbye, but for the remainder of the time I was there he didn't move away from his smart device.
His posture was stooped over. His eyes and head were set focused still on the device. The next session at their home I took some ball games for the whole family to play so they could all connect with each other, particularly at a level for their sister to be able to be included. What I observed with the 4 year old's motor skills was concerning. As I threw him a soft large ball, he was unable to catch it. As we all tried to hop, spin on the spot, and clap to a rhythm, his sister with an intellectual disability was having so much fun, but the 4 year old boy found it exhausting.
That night I encouraged the parents to come to my technology and motor development webinar, with no judgment or blame, I just wanted them to understand how technology impacts a child's learning.
The next session at their home, we had no smart devices, and all of us were practising our motor skills. All family members were laughing and smiling, including me. Once I inspired the family to play and interact with each other, the family's dynamic shifted and their home energy felt electric. This is one of my favourite family session moments to date because I have hopefully provided this family with a glimpse of excitement, inspiration, and hope, which will change their life long-term.