Families & Carers
TARGETED TRAINING: A BRIEF GUIDE FOR FAMILIES
What is Targeted Training?
Good movement control –and especially good trunk control –is essential for efficient performance of everyday functional activities such engaging with family and friends, playing with toys, standing and walking. Targeted Training is an evidence-based therapy that helps a child to gain this upright postural control: in turn, this helps to improve functional skills. Gaining head control helps with communication and feeding, while better trunk control can mean that a child is more able to sit and play with toys, using their hands for play and learning. Targeted Training simplifies the way in which movement control is learnt, making control learning easier for children who have difficulties.
Which children might be helped by Targeted Training?
Your child may have been slow to gain his or her‘motor milestones’ or may have a formal diagnosis such as Cerebral Palsy. He/she may have stiffness/spasticity or may be very floppy and head control is difficult. Targeted Training can help in all these situations. It is not a ‘magic cure’ –sadly these do not exist –but every small improvement, such as gaining head control or the ability to sit, can have a very positive impact for your child and for you all as a family.
How does Targeted Training work?
Targeted Training works in the same way that a child who does not have movement control problems learns to be upright…
….head control develops, so that the infant is looking around and no longer needs a hand to support their head.
Control continues to emerge down through the trunk and, around 8 or 9 months of age, baby can sit by him or herself.
Your child’s therapist will use a test called the Segmental Assessment of Trunk Control (or SATCo) to find out where your child’s trunk control is good and where, on the trunk, control is more difficult. A similar test is used to assess control in the hips and legs for children who already have good trunk control. Equipment, such as a specialised standing frame, gives firm support just beneath the point on the child’s body where control problems begin. The child is held safely and securely and has a little bit of control learning to do – but not too much. Targeted Training then begins! Sessions usually take place on 5 or 6 days a week and last around 30 minutes. But all your child has to do is to play!
This Targeted Play helps your child to learn to be upright and to gradually get control of the upright posture. Your therapist will guide you about Targeted Play games and activities. Your child’s control and functional abilities will be checked by your therapist every 6-8 weeks and the equipment is adjusted to move the support downwards as control is gained. These small stages mean that control learning is more easily achieved.
Targeted Training can take place at home, at school or in a therapy centre, whichever is right for your child.It is often used alongside other therapy approaches as part of an overall programme.
Please contact your therapist to find out if Targeted Training might help your child.
You can download a printable pdf version of the above if you wish to pass this on to people who cannot access the internet.