The Skills for Action Blog

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Everyday, in my work with infants and young children I encounter challenges and each time I ask myself one important question. .

Am I providing this infant/child and family the very best possible physiotherapy intervention and support?

This blog is about my search for answers to this question. 

  • Summer is a good time to do something about your child's fitness. 

    It is really important to understand that no matter how old or young you are, and whatever the physical abilities you may havefitness training of the right kind, will improve flexibility, strength and endurance,  enhance function and have a positive impact on mood and general well being. 

  • Mindfulness is a deceptively simple idea: it is the ability to pay full attention to the present moment and the capacity to respond to events in a thoughtful manner rather than reacting in an automatic  and thoughtless way.

  • Practicing ball skills not only improves the child's ability to catch, throw and kick a ball, but also provides a really good opportunitiy for training visual attention, perisitence, willingness to tolerate failure and experience the elation that goes with mastering a challenge. 

  • The first step is to understand why some children lack motivation

    Many children with movement  difficulties are reluctant to engage in new and challenging tasks for various reasons. 

  • How goal focused guided practice trains attention, persistence, fitness and improves a child's confidence. 

  • Cutting with scissors if a highly skilled motor activity that requires good coordination between the actions of the two hands, and requires many hours of practice to achieve the high level of skill required in school. In this blog I take a look at how the two hands work together to cut paper using a pair of scissors. 

    Typically developing children enjoy cutting paper, and often engage in activities that require cutting shapes from paper.  They also learn quickly from experience and generally do not need any specific guidance on how  to hold and manipulate the scissors and paper. 

  • Many children with movement difficulties (DCD/dyspraxia, joint hypermobility, autism, Down Syndrome) have difficulties with handwriting speed and neatness, and find handwriting tiring.

    In my experience there are a few, quite simple ways to overcome at least some of the common underlying difficulties and in this series of Handwriting Gym Help blogs I am going to describe them and suggest some ways parents and teachers can help children to improve their handwriting. 

  • The last few weeks my 8-year-old granddaughter has been practicing standing on her hands with a great deal of persistence and many, many,many repetitions,  Yesterday, for the first time she managed to get both her legs up to perform a perfect handstand. This seems to have been a balance and coordination breakthrough because she also developed the courage and trust in her own abilities to swing her legs up a little harder to stand against the wall and stay standing on her hands for 30 seconds. 

  • Many children who are reluctant to draw and find forming letters difficult and frustrating lack the basic graphic skills needed for drawing and printing letters.  

    So if your child is having difficulties with drawing and printing letters, is avoiding these tasks it may be useful to take a few steps back and start at the beginning. 

  • All motor skills are learned through dedicated practice and everyone knows that children learn best when they are highly motivated and willing to give their full attention to the task at hand. Motivation to achieve a goal helps the child to persist in the face of repeated setbacks and to keep trying until the goal is achieved. 

    A positive mood (positive affect)  also enhances learning and performance.  A happy and alert infant or child learns more than a child who is cross or upset.

  • The fluent production of a series of letters involves pre-planned rapid finger actions that are produced without visually guided online error correction. The child’s ability to produce these well controlled rapidly repeated movements is built on a lifetime’s worth of experience starting with repeatedly banging blocks together at 9-10 months.

  • Pam and Will.jpgTwo important questions: What lies at the heart of every encounter between a therapist and an infant or child? And what is it that we as developmental therapists wish to achieve?