This article addresses implications for the practice of occupational therapy when that therapy is guided by theories of motor learning. In occupational therapy, clients must learn or relearn motor skills through the use of activities. The occupational therapist must present activities in a manner that elicits the retention and transfer of the desired skills for use in functional settings. Therefore, the therapist should strive for acquisition conditions that facilitate retention and transfer of the learned skills. The processes that underlie motor learning should guide therapy. Three major factors that affect motor learning are environmental conditions, cognitive processes, and movement organization. Examination of the clinical implications of these factors, however, results in contradictory predictions regarding optimal practice conditions for motor skills. This article explores the successful integration of these factors and its application in occupational therapy practice. It is suggested that increasing the difficulty of the learning context during practice is beneficial for retention.

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