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