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Motor Control

The information contained in these outlines and charts will discuss the various aspects of motor control, including frames of reference, evaluation, and treatment techniques.

Motor Learning: The development of movement resulting from multiple processes, including those related to sensory/perception, cognitive and motor systems. The integration of these processes into movement is associated with practice and may include experience, motivation, reinforcement and developmental progress, all leading to permanent change in a person’s capability for skilled action. Pathology in any of the systems involved can result in impairments that may limit functional movement.

Frames of Reference

Frame of Reference Description Example Video
Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT). Authors: Berta Bobath, PT and Karel Bobath, MD Normal movement patterns are facilitated through handling techniques while abnormal movement patterns are inhibited. Handling techniques are usually incorporated during therapeutic activities or play. An occupational therapist positions a child with hemiplegia in a prone on elbows position and facilitates weight bearing through the affected elbow while the child uses the unaffected hand to play with toy cars. An overview of NDT treatment is shown in this video.
Brunnstrom Movement Therapy. Author: Signe Brunnstrom, PT Synergies and reflexes that occur normally during development are also viewed as a normal part of the recovery process following stroke. These synergies and reflexes are used to facilitate movement, and then are incorporated into normal movement patterns. An occupational therapist provides moderate assistance to a boy who has had a temporal lobectomy while he reaches for toys using a flexor synergy movement pattern to initiate movement. A presentation on the Brunnstrom approach.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). Author: Herman Kabat, PhD, MD The development of movement patterns is facilitated using the shift between flexor and extensor muscles, using diagonal movement patterns to encourage this shift. An occupational therapist provides minimal assistance while a teenage girl with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy uses a diagonal movement pattern to reach for cups in a cupboard and place them on a cart on the opposite side of her body. An occupational therapy instructor demonstrates PNF diagonal movement patterns with a student.
Rood Approach. Author: Margaret Rood, MA, OTR Sensory stimulation is applied to specific sensory receptors to facilitate and normalize movement patterns. An occupational therapist uses an electric brush to stimulate the receptors on the biceps muscle while a boy who has had a traumatic brain injury works to actively bend his elbow. A man demonstrates three Rood approaches to sensory stimulation.


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