Review Article

Motor skill intervention for pre-school children: A scoping review

Janke van der Walt, Nicola A. Plastow, Marianne Unger
African Journal of Disability | Vol 9 | a747 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v9i0.747 | © 2020 Janke van der Walt, Nicola A. Plastow, Marianne Unger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 April 2020 | Published: 10 December 2020

About the author(s)

Janke van der Walt, Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Nicola A. Plastow, Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Marianne Unger, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Heath Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: There is a high prevalence of motor skill difficulties amongst pre-school children living in low socio-economic areas. Motor skill impairment can affect these children’s school readiness and academic progress, social skills, play and general independence.

Objectives: This scoping review investigates the key elements of existing motor skill interventions for pre-school children.

Method: We gathered information through structured database searches from Cinahl, Eric, PubMed, Cochrane, ProQuest, Psych Net, PEDro and Scopus, using a keyword string. The PRISMA-SCR design was used to identify 45 eligible studies. All included studies investigated a motor skill intervention with well-defined outcome measures for children aged 4–7 years with motor skill difficulties. Studies that exclusively focused on children with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, physical disabilities or medical/physical deteriorating conditions were excluded. Information was charted on MS Excel spreadsheets. Fundamental concepts were categorised into common key themes and were converted into a proposed framework.

Results: Fifteen intervention approaches were identified. Treatment is mostly managed by occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Evidence supports individual and group treatment with a child-centred, playful approach in a school or therapeutic setting. Whilst session information varied, there is moderate evidence to suggest that a 15-week programme, with two weekly sessions, may be feasible.

Conclusion: Children with motor skill difficulties need therapeutic intervention. This study identified the key elements of existing therapy intervention methods and converted it into a proposed framework for intervention planning. It is a first step towards addressing motor skill difficulties amongst pre-school children in low socio-economic areas.


Keywords

motor skill difficulties; intervention methods; pre-school children; low socio-economic area; framework; scoping review

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