What do we mean by a task-oriented approach?

Task-oriented approaches focus directly on functional skills. A specific task is broken into steps that can be practiced independently and linked together to accomplish the entire task. Strategies are developed for a better interaction between child, task, and environment1. More about task-oriented.

Task-oriented approaches are closely related to the theory of dynamic system. What is the theory of dynamic systems?

More about task-oriented approaches

Task-oriented approaches include a variety of "top-down" strategies where the child’s performance within particular tasks is analysed to identify factors in the behaviour and the context that influence overall performance. Body functions and underlying structures or processes can also be considered as factors but only if they are directly connected to the performance of the desired task or participation in a specific activity.

What is the theory of dynamic systems?

Dynamic systems theory assumptions:

  • Motor development emerges through the interaction of multiple factors in the child, task and environment.
  • The system will find the most efficient and effective movement solution.
  • Readiness for change and instability in the system are key times for change.
Some key principles for interventions built on a task-oriented approach are:
  • The use of concrete activities.
  • Task performance in real-life environments.
  • Graded activities are used as needed to allow the child to succeed.
Question for Reflection
In the videos in the section "Are some approaches better?", identify some examples of task-oriented principles used by the therapist.
Click here for some examples
In the videos in the section "Are some approaches better?", identify some examples of task-oriented principles used by the therapist.
Some examples of the utilization of task-oriented principles in the video include:
  • The use of concrete activities: The therapist worked on the goal chosen by the child - skipping.
  • Task performance in real-life environments: Both the teaching and the practice of the task occurred in the child’s everyday environment (his home) including the use of the skipping rope that he normally used at home.
  • Graded activities are used as needed to allow the child to succeed: The therapist broke the task down into its different component parts (small jumps, stepping in place, jumping over a moving stick or when someone turned the rope, and practice arm movements). Once the parts of the task were well-understood and performed, the therapist encouraged practice of the whole task.
So what about Max?
Skipping is a complex activity, requiring the coordination of many body parts. Max may benefit from having the activity broken down into concrete steps and then practicing each step separately, prior to putting the component parts back together as a whole. This way of approaching the learning of motor activities or tasks are key principles of task-oriented approaches.
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