What is Motor Planning?

Motor planning is the ability to conceive, plan, and carry out a skilled, non-habitual motor act in the correct sequence from beginning to end. Incoming sensory stimuli must be correctly integrated in order to form the basis for appropriate, coordinated motor responses. The ability to motor plan is a learned ability which is generalized to all unfamiliar tasks so a child does not need to consciously figure out each new task he or she faces. The child with motor planning difficulties may be slow in carrying out verbal instructions and often appears clumsy in new tasks.

What causes motor planning difficulties?

Motor planning difficulties are caused by problems processing sensory information and poor neural connections in the brain. In order to have efficient motor planning, an individual must be able to organize sensory input from his body, have adequate body percept and be able to move around his environment. Difficulty with sensory processing can lead to poor motor planning for fine, gross, and oral motor tasks (such as handwriting, jumping, and forming words, respectively).

How can I help treat my child’s motor planning difficulties?

A sensory integrative approach is often used when treating a child with motor planning difficulties. Children rely on adequately interpreting sensory information from the tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular, visual, and auditory systems, in order to develop body awareness. Children with motor planning difficulties often have a poor body scheme. By providing your child with sensory information to help organize the information he receive form his environment, he can develop a better body scheme and his motor planning can improve as a result.

Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our therapists use a multisensory approach to provide yourchild with sensory and motor experiences to help improve his responses to sensory input, his body awareness, and fine and gross motor skills. By providing him with a sensory-rich experience in a friendly, safe, and fun environment, your child’s motor planning can be greatly improved. Our trained occupational therapists also provide you with strategies to use in the home and school environments, so you can be an active participant in your child’s success.