Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

February 16, 2015

Walking on ice: an Occupational Therapy review

iceJessica Hoffarth, MS, OTR/L, an occupational therapy team member at the Midtown office of Child and Family Development, recently reviewed a most appropriate article for today, in anticipation of the snow and icy weather.      

This article from IFL Science summarizes research from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California that suggests that in addition to the normal mechanisms the body uses to remain upright, a group of neurons on the spine are clustered in a ‚Äúmini-brain‚Äù that combines sensory information and motor commands to make small, unconscious movements of the foot in order to provide better balance. 

The article reviews how we humans use sensory information of all sorts during what we sometimes consider the simple act of walking.  Of course, as an occupational therapist, Jessica often works on balance on surfaces of all kinds- carpet, tile, uneven, etc.  While we don’t replicate icy conditions in pediatric therapy sessions, the theory stands up (so to speak!).  

As you go out to PLAY in the winter weater this week, consider the WORK involved and have fun! 

Jessica and the 7 other licensed occupational therapists on our team are available to share their expertise.