Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

When observing preschoolers complete complex motor tasks, you may observe an increase in motor activation displayed as extraneous movements in body parts not actively involved in the current task.  These extraneous movements are sometimes called motor overflow, mirror movements or associated movements.  Perceptual and Motor Skills published research examining what is associated with motor overflow in preschool children.  The study participants included 476 preschool children (average age: 3.88 years).  Three assessments were completed on each preschooler.  Contralateral associated movements (motor overflow)were measured with the Zurich Neuromotor Assessment (i.e. pegboard, alternating finger/hand movements and timed finger tasks).  Inhibitory motor control was measured with the statue motor persistence subtest of the Neuropsychological Assessment for Children – children have to stand still with eyes closed with occasional distractions.  Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Intelligence and Development Scales–Preschool.

The results indicated the following:

  • a significant relationship between contralateral associated movements and motor persistence, selective attention, and visual perception which are all related to overall executive functioning.
  • the intensity of the contralateral associated movements correlated with inhibitory control problems in preschoolers.
  • no significant relationship between contralateral associated movements intensity and visuospatial working memory and figural reasoning.

The researchers concluded that this association of contralateral associated movements and lack of inhibitory control in younger, healthy, typically developing children requires further longitudinal studies and studies to identify motor overflow with specific neurodevelopmental disorders for early detection.

Reference:  Kakebeeke, T. H., Messerli-Bürgy, N., Meyer, A. H., Zysset, A. E., Stülb, K., Leeger-Aschmann, C. S., … & Munsch, S. (2017). Contralateral Associated Movements Correlate with Poorer Inhibitory Control, Attention and Visual Perception in Preschool Children. Perceptual and motor skills124(5), 885-899.

Read the Ultimate Guide to Self-Regulation to learn more about inhibitory control in children.

Yoga has been shown to have a significant effect on self-regulation in preschool children.  Read more here.

Yoga Moves: Incorporating yoga into your therapy routine or your classroom movement breaks has the benefits of increasing focus, concentration, working memory, body awareness, executive function and self-regulation.

These yoga cards can be hung on the wall of a therapy room, sensory room, or classroom and they can be used as cards you can pull out for a yoga breaks.  The cards include visual pictures and do not include written descriptions to complete the poses.  FIND OUT MORE.

Motor Overflow in Preschool Children

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