In this Q+A series, we interview a diverse range of speakers who are scheduled to speak at the Australian Podiatry Conference, which takes place in Brisbane between 22 to 24 June, 2023.
Here, we introduce Dr. Helen Banwell, a Senior Lecturer in Podiatry at the University of South Australia who shares her expertise on the impact of podiatry interventions on gross motor skills in children. Dr Banwell also shares practical tips on using validated and reliable balance, endurance and other gross motor skill assessments that can easily be integrated into practice.
My presentation, Measuring the Impact of Podiatry Interventions on Gross Motor Skills in Children, will cover two parts. Firstly, a recent study where we used valid and reliable gross motor skills assessments to identify the efficacy of texture insole use in children with motor coordination issues. Secondly, it looks at how podiatrists can use these motor skills assessments to quantify clients’ abilities during physical tasks and the effectiveness of podiatry interventions.
My workshop, Practical Skills and Application of Assessing Balance, Endurance, and Other Gross Motor Skills in Children, builds on this presentation. It provides practical tips and demonstrations on using validated and reliable balance, endurance, and other gross motor skill assessments that can easily and quickly be integrated into practice.
Gross motor assessment can be a valuable tool in quantifying a client’s abilities and potential where motor skill concerns are observed. I began including gross motor skill assessments for these children approximately five years ago to identify a child’s potential, and as indicators of impact from any intervention prescribed.
While many podiatrists may not want to conduct a full battery of gross motor tests, there are simple age-appropriate balance and coordination assessments that can be applied within minutes. I’m excited to pass on some simple tips on how these tests can be incorporated into standard paediatric based consults.
Gross motor skill testing only requires adequate training (such as what I am offering at this conference) and the ability to follow protocols. Using individual domains or the entire battery of validated resources such as the Movement Assessment Battery for Children Second edition (Movement ABC-2) indicates to us and parents and carers where a child sits in relation to their peers (e.g., in percentiles). This encourages realistic goal setting and targeted management strategies. It also assists in alerting us when a referral to other health professionals may be beneficial or required. I frequently use the Movement ABC-2 battery of tests in my clinical work and research for identifying the presence and severity of Developmental Coordination Disorder.
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