The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of verbal and visual cues on 28 nondysfunctional 3- and 4-year-old children’s performance of in-hand manipulation skills. During the uncued version of the test (pretest), the children were presented with play activities known to elicit in-hand manipulation skills in young children but were given no cues for specific manipulative skill use. Within 1 week of the pretest, after the children were randomly assigned to groups, a posttest was given in which the children were provided with verbal or visual cues. The results indicate that both visual and verbal cues were effective in increasing the groups’ test scores, but no significant differences were found based on the type of cue provided. Approximately 30% of the children in the study showed marked improvement on the posttest scores, whereas the others showed little change. The children who had lower pretest scores showed greater score increases on the posttest than did the children who scored somewhat higher initially. The use of an uncued test followed by a cued test may be an effective method for the identification of those children who are most likely to show improvement in these manipulation skills with intervention. This study’s findings lend tentative support to Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development theory and extends the application of his work into the domain of fine motor skills.

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