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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Parallel Coordination - an example

Let's go back to our friends Ben and Sara.  Now they are working on parallel coordination.  Parallel coordination occurs when both partners are completing the same role simultaneously.  The child learns how to adjust his pace and actions with those of his guide.  Parallel coordination tends to be a bit more challenging than complementary coordination, because the child must be able to appraise his partner's actions while adjusting his actions simultaneously.  This is very challenging at first, so it is important to start out slow. 

For parallel coordination, Sara and Ben are walking together.  Sara moves slowly, holding Ben's hand at first.  They walk together, and then she stops.  Ben keeps walking until he notices that she is still holding his hand.  She does not pull him back, but she does not let go.  Ben moves back to her on his own (though she still needs to hold his hand at this point), and they start to walk again. As they continue to practice, Sara might add more variations, like moving more quickly or more slowly. 

Eventually, after several weeks of practice, Sara lets go of Ben's hand.  He can now match his pace to hers without physical contact.  He still has a tendency to keep walking a few paces when she stops, but he notices that she is not next to him after a few steps and comes back to her without prompts.  At this point, Sara starts to add more variation, like walking backwards for a few paces, or skipping. 

Parallel coordination is mastered when the child is able to adjust his movements to those of his guide without prompts.  At this point, we would look for this in familiar frameworks (any activity that you used to practice this with your child), and with familiar guides.  Your child may be able to do this in familiar settings, but have more difficulty in other settings, like at the mall, where you may need to go back to holding hands.  

1 comment:

The Glasers said...

I find the biggest issue with my daughter is speed. She processes more slowly. The faster I go, the less she is able to adjust her pace. She coordinates better when I slow down!