Journal Review on Task Specific Training

Better Rehabilitation always works to the most recent evidence based practice with our clients.

To ensure that we always at the cutting edge of research we regularly review the most up to date research. Below is our thoughts on the journal article  “Task-specific training: evidence for and translation to clinical practice”

TASK SPECIFIC TRAINING: ‘practice context-specific motor tasks and receive some form of feedback’:

To improve performance in functional tasks through goal-directed practice and repetition focus on training of functional tasks rather than the impairment – strengthens muscles changes are associated with specific skill learning, consistent with a learning-dependent model of neural plasticity task-specific training can restore function by using spared (non-affected) parts of the brain which are generally adjacent to the lesion and/or recruiting supplementary parts of the brain

What were the studies conclusions?

Strategy 1: task-specific training should be relevant to the patient and to the context

Involve activities that are meaningful

COPM – identifying tasks and can be used as an outcome measure

Tasks trained should be real world/context specific

Set up treatment environment to reflect usual home/community

Strategy 2: task-specific training practice sequences should be randomly ordered

Utilising randomly ordered practice facilitates retention and transfer of skill, increasing the tasks generalisability

Task specific training should be random in its application using different contexts/settings – differing occupational demands & sequences

Therapists should randomly schedule therapy routines and task selection

Strategy 3: task-specific training should be repetitive

Key is massed practice

The more a task is practiced, the better the overall performance HOWEVER it is also argued that task specificity is clinically more significant that intensity

The maximum amount of repetition feasible should be prescribed in task specific interventions

Strategy 4: task-specific training should aim towards reconstruction of the whole task

When formulating a treatment plan, a therapist will:

deconstruct a task into its component parts

assess the patient’s performance of the whole task and of its component parts

identify which skills and/or component parts are adversely affected and why

formulate a treatment plan targeted at the mismatch between ‘can do’ and ‘need/want to do’.

Task-specific training should start with skills acquisition and massed practice of the individual components (shaping), moving towards regrouping and normal sequence of some à most à all of the task’s components.

Strategy 5: task-specific training should be positively reinforced

Includes timely and positive feedback, but pair back to decrease dependency

Feedback is always to be positive


A link to the journal article can be found below