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- Coordination Skills at OT Therapy
Occupational Therapy Gross Motor Skills
Coordination usually refers to whether a child can get the arms and legs to work together in a coordinated, effective way. In addition, many tasks which require coordinated movement also require the child to have good motor planning to time their movements accurately.
Children who experience challenges with movement can often have difficulty balancing, moving around the home and school environment safely, engaging in P.E and competing in different sports. A formal assessment can be done to find out a baseline of skills and then intervention goals can be discussed.
During this analysis of gross motor skills, the occupational therapist would use their knowledge to unpick the components of gross motor skills and determine which aspects the child is struggling with.
Components of Gross Motor skills
Sensory regulation of limbs and muscles
Motor planning and execution
A combination of these components of gross motor skills are needed to perform activities, for example to be able to successfully catch a ball, a child must maintain balance, plan when they want to move (motor planning and execution) and orientate their hands towards the middle of the body (midline orientation and bilateral integration) in time with the flight and speed of the ball (spatial awareness and temporal awareness and hand-eye coordination). Therefore, what seemed to be a simple task actually requires a gross motor coordination skill.
Gross motor skills are an important component of development and become a vital part of engaging in activities across many areas, such as at home, in lessons, in the playground or playing outside with friends and sport. Some of the common difficulties to be aware of are if your child is:
Finding it hard in P.E
Having difficulty running/hopping/jumping/skipping etc
Unable to balance effectively
Struggling to throw or catch
Having difficulty moving in space (proprioception)
Having difficulty completing complex movements
Unable to stand and complete tasks successfully
Tripping and falling often
How can OT Therapy help?
An occupational therapist would analyse the child's gross motor skills in relation to a task, determine where the deficit lies and provide treatment that aims to improve these. Intervention would include completing activities that involve the use of motor planning and coordinated movement. Children will begin to develop and improve the aspects upon which they're struggling with and subsequently the overall task performance of gross motor activities will improve. It is also important to get your child involved in some community activities to help develop the skills further.
The next step: contact OT Therapy
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