These free task-oriented checklists for therapists are great to use as screening tools and to help track progress toward independence and success!
With more and more therapists receiving referrals for children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), it’s important that we feel prepared and informed about the treatment approaches that are the most effective for this diagnosis.
If you have heard of DCD, but aren’t very familiar with the signs and red flags related to this diagnosis, check out this post about Developmental Coordination Disorder Red Flags.
The research shows that, for kids with DCD, interventions that target body structures and functions are an important part of the equation. Body structures and functions interventions include approaches like Core Stability Training that target underlying deficits at the body-level. But we can’t stop there. Because studies have shown that these types of interventions alone aren’t enough to promote motor proficiency in kids with DCD. We also need to pair them with a task-oriented approach.
What Are Task-Oriented Interventions?
A task-oriented approach, sometimes called task-oriented training, is function-based and draws on concepts from motor learning and motor control theories. Task-oriented interventions involve participation in functional activities with repetition and variations to both the environment and the activity itself. This type of intervention is known as a top-down approach.
The therapist breaks a task down into incremental parts, eventually putting the parts together to increase independence and success with the full task. This type of intervention requires many repetitions, practice in varying environments, and adaptations to the task based on progress. This may involve increasing or decreasing the task demands or introducing different variables that change the task demands.
Feedback is provided to the child throughout the repeated practice opportunities and this is seen as a process of self-discovery where the child learns to problem-solve and plan the movements needed to complete the full task.
Progressing From Parts to the Whole & Varying Task Demands
Two important aspects of task-oriented training are:
-Using the principle of task analysis to break activities down into incremental parts, both so we can see where the child is experiencing a breakdown in skills and so we can work with these incremental parts during therapy to help the child build the skills they need to achieve success with the whole activity.
-Varying the task demands to promote independence, success, and generalization of skills.
Free Task-Oriented Checklists
That’s what today’s freebies are all about! We’ve taken two common skills that we address in OT and PT – throwing a ball and fastening a zipper – and made checklists that include ideas for breaking the tasks down into smaller parts as well as varying the environmental and other task demands to continue to challenge the child.
These checklists can be used first to screen the child to identify which parts of the task they are able to complete and which parts they need to work on and which task demands are attainable vs. demands that are too challenging at the moment.
They can also be used to monitor progress, as you check off and make notes on each part of the task as the child completes them during therapy sessions. You can also track how you’ve varied the task demands and how the child responds to these different challenges.
We hope these printables will be helpful to you as you integrate a task-oriented approach into your therapy sessions!