Chaos, variability and stereotypy in paediatric physiotherapy

De Groot L. (1998)

Article

All biological systems display a certain amount of chaotic behaviour, which in time develops an equilibrium or order. In the development of posture and motility of young infants, this concept is important to understand later behaviour. In early development, motor behaviour may look chaotic, but in time it will result in variability of movement, tailored to the needs of a particular infant at any particular moment in development. Under less favourable (medical or social) circumstances, the infant will have far fewer degrees of freedom to build up the required variability, and stereotyped posture and motility will replace variability and hamper development in general. For paediatric physiotherapists, these concepts are very important when planning therapy. All goals should be realistic. Sometimes it may be useful to use stereotyped movements to achieve function, even at the cost ofvariability. Therapy planning should depend on the time window in the development of each individual child.

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