• Suggestions To Improve Motor Planning

    Motor Planning Definition:

    The ability to plan and carry out a skilled, non-habitual motor act in the correct sequence from beginning to end.  The ability to motor plan is a learned ability to be able to generalize to all unfamiliar tasks so that the child does not have to consciously figure out each new task he faces.  Children with motor planning difficulties may be slow in carrying out verbal instructions and can appear clumsy at new tasks.  Motor planning ability can fluctuate and the student may be able to do a task one day and not another.   The ability to motor plan, organize and sequence strategies is essential to beginning and completing tasks.

    Suggestions to assist in improving Motor Planning abilities:

    ·         Give simple, one step directives

    ·         If the child cannot follow directions, demonstrate the task

    ·         If still unable to follow, take his body through each motion so he/she feels what it’s like to do the task

    ·         Do not keep repeating the directions if the child cannot follow, as this can be frustrating or confusing

    ·         Vary activities, rather than doing them the same way over and over

    ·         Help child identify steps needed to begin and accomplish the task.  Have the student repeat directions and if possible write steps down.

    ·         Give a short assignment, so the student can feel instant success in completing the task

    ·         Try a timer to help student pace work (give them ½ time warning – set timer for 5 minutes and give verbal he/she has 5 more minutes)

    ·         Use a checklist and have student check off steps as he/she completes the task

    ·         Minimize visual distractions ( have only assignment and pencil on desk, decrease clutter in work space, use of a study corral when completing tasks)

    ·         Complete art projects that require assembling parts to create a whole.


    Add Additional Fine Motor Activities Into Daily Schedule :

    ·         Pencil activities, such as dot-to-dot, tracing, copying shapes

    ·         Puzzles

    ·         Building blocks and legos following a specific pattern

    ·         Critical thinking (Complete the pattern worksheets)

    ·         Learn a new/challenging task, such as, tying shoe laces

    ·         Handwriting (Ask therapist for different paper to help organize written work on paper, instruct always write in top to bottom formation and write on paper in a left to right direction). 

    ·         Try organizing school desk (make it a ritual that student organizes desk at the end of the day on every Friday)

    ·         Work on organizing school bag


    Any questions, please contact me!  Stephanie Sparks, Occupational Therapist


Last Modified on October 14, 2009