What exactly is motor planning? Motor planning is a skill that allows you to organize and perform a physical movement effectively. It involves being able to generate an idea of what you are going to do, plan out how you are going to do it, and carry out the action step by step. Seemingly easy tasks, such as putting on and taking off shoes, teeth brushing, manipulating objects with our hands, following multi-step directions or riding a bike, can be a great challenge for someone with motor planning difficulties. These routine tasks might seem automatic for many people, but in reality the brain has to process a lot of information before it can send out signals to let our muscles and joints know how to move in a certain way. When we encounter a new motor challenge, our brain tells us how to change our movements so that we can adapt and complete the task more easily.
The inability to motor plan successfully can impact a child’s ability to be independent in everyday activities. Children who struggle with motor planning might be perceived as clumsy and slow when learning or completing physical activities. Important aspects of motor learning new skills are to practice often and to practice it in various ways in order to generalize the same motor skill to different situations. To support a child’s motor planning abilities, it’s vital to present them with many opportunities to use their body and to break down the steps for them as needed, especially for multi-step motor tasks.
Here are some exciting activities that can help foster your child's motor planning skills.
With summer upon us, and social distancing still canceling so many child centered activities, this is a great time to engage in individual Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy sessions. Brush up on skills that may have fallen behind during virtual learning or make progress to be well prepared for the return to school and group activists this fall. Please email us at [email protected] to learn more about about 1:1 OT or SLP visits for your child, typically covered by your health plan. Find us on Facebook at @BostonSensorySolutions or online at www.BostonSensorySolutions.com.