Early Intervention for Motor Delays or Movement Problems

Infants and children with motor delays or movement problems can benefit from early intervention. This involves support and training for the child and family. It is provided by therapists, educators, or behavioral specialists skilled in working with children with motor and other developmental delays. Early intervention sometimes starts in the neonatal nursery. Or it may begin after the parents or pediatrician decide that the child’s motor delays or movement problems are interfering with his ability to interact with his environment or with others.

Using the skills of many specialists, early intervention programs focus on helping the child use motor skills that will provide him with opportunities to explore his environment, play, and interact with others. Guiding a child to move in the most useful way improves social, emotional, and intellectual development.

Early intervention programs or therapies generally include occupational therapists and physical therapists who specialize in motor skill therapy.

If feeding, speech, and other communication processes are affected, speech and language pathologists (SLPs) will coordinate their work with the other early intervention specialists.

As children develop some movement skills, they may begin to work with early childhood special educators . These educators work with the therapists to help the child with social and cognitive skills.

Other specialists are involved as needed, such as psychologists or social workers, vision specialists, and audiologists . The goal of early intervention is to help the family and the child to use the most functional movement patterns and build on a child’s strengths to facilitate further development.

Motor Skills Development » Links & Resources

Miller, L. J. and Fuller, D. A (2007) Sensational kids: Hope And Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder. New York: Penguin Group.

Tecklin, J. S. (2007) Pediatric Physical Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Wilms Floet, A.M. (2006) “Motor Skills Disorder.” Emedicine: Medscape’s Continually Updated Clinical Reference.