Following the science: Implementing task oriented training

Designing effective perceptual-motor training requires a good understanding of the factors that influence motor learning in all infants. 

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A list of the factors that shape infant perceptual-motor learning

►Infant learning occurs when infants actively engage in intentional actions, often with a specific goal in mind.

►Infant actions always involve complex interactions between the brain-body systems and the social and physical environment.

►New infant learning always starts from and builds on present abilities: the cascade effect 

►Active, healthy infants engage in repeated perceptual-motor cycles with embedded exploration.

►Active, healthy infants are motivated to explore, are driven by curiosity, enjoy challenges, are persistent and respond to success with great pleasure.

►Motor learning is task specific – the task demands determine the just right and specific stability, alignment and balance adaptations needed to support the sequence of movements that are needed to complete a task.

►Visual attention, prediction and anticipation play and important role in planning perceptual-motor actions. 

Task oriented training 

Based on, and incorporating, these ideas designing movement therapy training activities proceeds as follows:

  • Parents (carers) and therapist identify goals and tasks for training.
  • Assessment identifies the infant's level of ability for the task
  • The task is adapted to allow the infant to succeed.
  • The infant is encouraged to engage in the adapted task and explore different ways to achieve success.
  • As the infant's ability improves, the task is adapted to provide a new just-right challenge.
  • Family and therapist together think about ways that task practice can be incorporated into the daily routine.

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