Praxis includes the ability to conceptualise, plan, and organise a task in order to successfully execute a motor skill from beginning to end. Some kids have trouble sequencing how to put on or take off a shirt, how to navigate a tricky obstacle, how to get into or out of bed, or how to ride a bike. Praxis is the skill that aids children with the ability to successfully engage and complete these activities. Praxis is necessary for independent participation in functional mobility, activities of daily living, and play tasks for greater learning and growth.
Praxis is a multistep process that encompasses the cognitive ability to formulate an idea, organise, and plan how to physically move the body in the correct sequence, along with the ability to problem solve in order to modify the sequence of motor movements for successful completion of an unfamiliar task. Through consistent repetition, the child is able to recall the task, execute a motor plan with the correct sequence, and successfully complete via feedback from the sensory system.
The main 4 components of praxis which are necessary to complete a new or unfamiliar task include ideation, motor planning, execution, and feedback and adaptation. Each of these components are complex and require consistent feedback from the sensory system to carry out. For a better understanding, let’s break down the components of praxis.
Ideation is the ability to formulate an idea such as drawing a picture or creating new dance moves to your favorite music in the kitchen! In a different sense, ideation can also occur when someone else shows a child how to do something such as getting dressed, climbing a ladder, or riding a bike.
Next comes the motor plan. This entails appropriate body awareness to understand where our body is in space, along with the ability to organise how to move the body in a coordinated manner.
Execution of the task involves combining the correct sequence of steps of the tasks, such as understanding and initiating each movement in the correct order. Anytime each of us complete a task for the first time, we may require extra practice to perform successfully just like many of our kids do when they are learning how to crawl, walk, and navigate their environment for the first time.
The way all of us smoothly complete these newly learned activities requires adaptation which starts with us receiving feedback from our sensory system. This feedback provides us with the necessary information to problem solve in order to identify a new way to move or organise our body for successful activity completion.
How do we improve a child’s praxis skills? Below are some activities to assist with increasing your praxis skills for greater success in their daily lives!
Many of the activities noted above not only assist with body awareness for motor planning, but they also aid improvements with overall strength, coordination, and endurance for your child to perform increased repetitions for activities that may be challenging.
Upon initial trial of activities, a child may need additional help due to neuromuscular deficits such as decreased motor initiation or overall weakness. In this case, when first learning a new task, it may be important for you to physically guide your child through these tasks, so they are able to gain the foundation of what the coordinated motor plan and the sequence of steps feels like.
In addition, since praxis relies heavily on our sensory system, it is important to engage the child, if needed, in various proprioceptive or vestibular input prior to engaging in these activities to ensure appropriate sensory organisation for executing each task with the appropriate sequence, force, and coordination! Praxis can be achieved when providing additional repetitions, the appropriate motivation, and frequent opportunities for increased independence with everyday life!
Kristen takes pride in promoting a positive and fun therapeutic environment for patients and their families. Helping kids achieve their highest potential is what motivates her to just keep swimming!
At NAPA Centre, we take an individualised approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customised program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.