Motor Development and Movement Activities for Preschoolers and Infants With Delays: A Mutisensory Approach for Professionals and Families. Second Edition
by Jo E. Cowden, PhD, and Carol C. Torrey, PhD, Springfield, IL, Charles C Thomas Publisher Ltd., 2007, 348 pp, Hardcover, $73.95.
This book is given high recommendations as a practical guide and source of reference to all practitioners and trainees in the field of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics. For those of us who want to give practical advice to parents on movement exercises which they could use to help and address children's problems with movement and posture, this is a book to have. For trainees who have wondered about the perspectives that physical therapists, movement specialists, and interventionists take when handling a child with hypotonicity or hypertonicity, transitioning and providing therapy to the child, this book illuminates these perspectives and provides most salient suggestions for “do's and don'ts” in approaching and working with children.
The authors have written this book “to explain the principles of motor developmental theories and relate them to practical intervention, answer questions about muscle tone related to positioning, lifting, carrying, and feeding of young children, provide directions for early diagnosis assessment of symptoms . . . and help professionals and families understand the impact of medical conditions on motor development and related daily living skills for young children” (introductory section). The book emphasizes the age group of infancy to 6 years, but the authors note that the information and movement exercises are appropriate for older children with significant motor delays as well. The authors have organized this book starting with the theories of motor development (Chapter 1), organization of the nervous system (Chapter 2), and motor tone (Chapter 3). The book later covers assessment (Chapter 5) and the principles of intervention (Chapter 6). The last 4 chapters (7–10) of the book highlight practical and hands-on activities for the professional and family. These chapters on physical therapy/movement exercises include targeting hypotonicity, reflex integration, sensory motor development, and manipulative (prehensile) activities.
Each chapter begins with chapter objectives and ends with a succinct summary. The authors effectively use pictures and diagrams to clarify and illustrate. For example, progression of balance development from birth to 15 months is depicted in a set of 15 diagrams. Most notably, in the last 4 chapters offering specific hands-on movement activities which professionals and parents could use, a multitude of the movement exercises are pictorially represented together with clear, point-by-point instructions. For instance, Exercise 4 in “Activities for Children with Hypotonicty” is Pedal Pump. Above the illustration are the instructions to encourage the infant to “Kick legs in place using reciprocal pedal motion. May need to provide coactive assistance to help the child flex and extend the legs.” Activities to promote auditory discrimination, visual motor control, tactile stimulation, and kinesthetic and spatial awareness are mainly provided as bulleted suggestions. In the last chapter on prehensile manipulative activities, the authors have also provided tables for therapists and parents to monitor attainment of skill sets (e.g., grasping abilities).
To the authors' credit, they have also explained theories of motor development and the components of dynamic systems theory of Thelen and associates in ways which relate to the pragmatics of early intervention. Although Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics practitioners and trainees may find the chapter on medical and biological considerations (Chapter 4) to be less informative than other chapters (e.g., Fragile X is described as an X-linked inherited syndrome without reference to CGG repeats; and more up-to-date references were not cited for the medical conditions), the authors have described the conditions succinctly and have added a glossary for the benefits of parents and other professionals.
This book deserves high marks for its practical approach to intervention and should serve as a resource for practitioners working with children with motor delays. It is most notable for providing specific hands-on movement activities that professionals could apply or demonstrate to parents during clinical visits or therapy sessions.
Kek Khee Loo, MD
Department of Pediatrics
UCLA Developmental Studies Program
Los Angeles, CA