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Motor Control and its importance in Occupational Therapy




Motor Control which will be defined further shortly, is an important part of our everyday functioning.


For children it is part of development and everyday learning through practice. Children learn motor control, adjustment and variability in movement through dressing, feeding, bathing, play, and learning, and for those that follow my blog posts will link that these activities mentioned are some of our many daily occupations.


Our Motor control is a core component to our participation and an engagement in an activity, you can imagine for someone who is unable to maintain their posture and sit upright with their peers to engage in Lego at the table this limits their participation, engagement and social interactions; therefore Occupational Therapist`s can help to improve motor control ability in order to engage in occupations.


Motor Control is defined by Jane Case-Smith as how the central nervous system organises and quantifies movement, but also the nature of the movement. Therapist`s can assist in understanding the mechanisms, strategies, development and the motor dysfunction component of the movement. It is here that a Physiotherapist role is more defined to determine motor dysfunction and focus on the ability of the muscle or tendon area, where the difference Occupational Therapy brings is how the client can apply the motor functioning to their day to day life.


What are symptoms of Motor Control challenges?


Motor control incudes a large array of developmental areas that when challenges occur can impact many areas of a child’s functioning, these can include;

· Poor coordination

· Sequencing (order or movements)

· Timing

· Bimanual control

· Amount of force required for task

· Balance

· Sensory processing

· Motor planning


What can I do if I feel my child struggles in one or more of these areas?


There are many different strategies that can assist in all these mentioned areas above, it is best to speak directly with your therapist to develop an individualised plan. This is important because it also includes components of a child’s cognitive (how fast can they learn a skill), adaptability, developmental age, diagnosis, and environment.


The most important thing parents can do for their children to support motor control is to allow them to learn and move around their environment freely and safely. So often parents place their children in positions or keep them in safe ground level activities. It is important to allow your child to learn in a range of environments, levels, and variations of play. This is how they gain motor control and learn a lot of important developmental skills.


Nursery rhymes with actions to follow, obstacle courses with a range of activities, copying actions, playground games and much more; are ideas that support motor control for children.

Remember to always have fun with activities use your child’s interests, the more your children and yourself enjoy it, the more engaged they are and the more they will gain from it.


If you have any questions about these recommendations above please do not hesitate to ask.

If your child and family would like support in Motor Control contact Connecting Together today.


Thank you for reading,


Poroporoaki hoki inaianei,

Melissa Walker-Tate (Occupational Therapist).

Connecting Together Ltd.

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