This article reviews the models and theories of motor behavior that are the foundation for the traditional approaches to central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction and presents a new theoretical model and approach that are beginning to influence practice. Reflex, hierarchical, and systems models of motor control and developmental and motor learning theories are discussed. The relationships of these models and theories to past, present, and future treatment approaches to CNS dysfunction are explored. The assumptions and limitations of the muscle reeducation, neurodevelopmental, and motor relearning approaches are discussed. A contemporary task-oriented approach based on the systems model is proposed and contrasted with traditional neurodevelopmental approaches.

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