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Learn To Move It, Move It

I just came from the house of an adorable 10 month old girl who I see through early intervention. She has been an amazing example of how quickly a child with an intact neurological system can learn new skills. This little girl had a rough start medically, but is now very healthy. With the medical concerns stabilized, her family was very concerned about her from a developmental perspective. When I started with her a couple of months ago she was barely sitting. Today she was crawling, cruising, and pulling to stand beautifully! She is now doing what other children her age are doing and is taking off.

Some children because of many different reasons, need a little push in the right direction to learn new skills. Once we introduce new movement patterns and make it fun and a just-right challenge kids will repeat these patterns over and over again on their own till they master them. Once they have the fundamentals (trunk control, especially in rotation, balance reactions, protective reactions, etc) they can then take off and learn new skills through their own exploration.

On the other hand children with neurological challenges can also learn. However, they need much more repetition to learn these skills and often will need us to set up this practice more than letting them practice on their own through natural exploration. Left to their own devices many children with neurological challenges will repeat the same patterns over and over. These patterns will be reinforced and strengthened. We need to provide those just-right challenges that help these children to learn new ways to move and then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

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