Background. Theory provides a guide to clinical practice. To date, the most prevalent theories in pediatric occupational therapy practice are sensory integration and neurodevelopmental treatment. Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to present a brief overview and reflection on motor learning theories as well as a summary of motor learning principles that can be used in pediatric practice. Key Issues. Over the past two decades, motor learning theory has been applied in adult occupational therapy practice, but it has been slow to gain popularity in pediatrics. Implications. Although therapists may be tacitly applying motor learning principles in practice, conscious and deliberate application of these principles to a variety of pediatric populations is required to determine if motor learning theory provides a viable and effective contribution to evidence-based, occupational therapy pediatric practice. Further research comparing motor learning interventions to other dominant interventions in pediatric occupational therapy is warranted.
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