Our discussion forums are available to anyone to read, but you must be a member to reply or start new topics. Log-in or register to get started.

Helen Carey

Hi Christine,
In the motor control and motor learning handout, I separated the motor control theories and the motor learning theories. Honestly, I have trouble sorting them out as well! I tried to provide specific motor implications for each to highlight their importance relative to clinical practice. Dynamic systems theory is the same at systems theory- I just tried to be consistent with terms from my resources (primarily the Motor Control textbook by Shumway-Cook & Woollacott). You’ll find that there is some overlap in the motor control and motor learning theories.

Family systems theory is related to family-centered care and is the view that individual and family functioning is an interactional and dynamic process. The transactional model of development is also related to family-centered care and emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between the child and and caregiving environment. The ecological model of human development is also related to family-centered care and is the role that the larger social systems have on the function of the family unit. (Effgen, 2nd Edition, p154). Yes, there is an ecological model of human development, an ecological theory of motor control, and an ecological theory of motor learning! While a bit frustrating to have 3 theories with a similar name, it kind of makes sense since the environment is such a critical factor in child/family functioning and motor control/learning. I think the best strategy will be to focus on the context of the test question to figure out what theories are related. In your study preparation, it will be a good idea to at least be able to categorize the theories into family-centered care, motor control, and motor learning.

In terms of motor control, there is currently more evidence to support the dynamic systems theory compared to the other theories, however, most still “exist.” Some theories are decades old and others are newer, but most continue to exist. The reflex theory seems to be one, however, that now has limited support. As therapists, having some knowledge about these theories helps us understand the evolution of our learning about motor control. Shumway-Cook & Woollacott feel that “…the actions of therapists are based on assumptions that are derived from theories. The specific practices related to examination and intervention used with the patient who has motor dyscontrol are determined by underlying assumptions about the nature and cause of movement. Thus, motor control theory is part of the theoretical basis for clinical practice.”

I hope that helps!