Thursday, September 6, 2012

Schedule Practice Time for Motor Skills

A new school year brings new students and new goals.  Most students who receive therapy services have goals related to fine and gross motor skill development.  As we know from motor learning theories individuals need practice time to learn and maintain motor skills.  Therefore, therapists need to provide suggestions for ample practice time during the school day beyond therapy services.

Therapists should provide the student and the teacher with some suggestions to squeeze in practice time during the school day.  Not only should therapists provide the practice activity ideas it would be very helpful to also provide ideas regarding what time to perform the practice sessions.  In order for therapists to do this, you will need to have access to the students entire school schedule.  Look closely at the schedule and perhaps provide the student and teacher with highlighted areas where the practice can occur.     

Gross motor skills can be practiced during transition times, recess, free play and physical education.  If you need to get more creative an add more practice time, provide the teacher with some quick brain breaks (ie Roll Some Fun or Mini Movement Breaks) throughout the day. 

Fine motor skill practice tends to be easier to accomplish during the school day.  Arts and crafts projects can be geared toward specific practice skills.  Therapists can help teachers plan literacy and math lessons that encourage fine motor skill practice. 

To summarize, try to not only provide motor skill practice activity ideas but also provide a simple schedule to complete the activities throughout the regular routine of the student's day.  The schedule would be meant to provide suggested activity practice times for teachers and students.  Don't forget to check back in a week or two to see if the suggested times are working for the student.

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