Motor planning or “praxis” is our ability to unconsciously (or consciously) plan and then carry out purposeful movements with our bodies. It relies on a number of foundational sensory and sensory motor skills, such as knowing how your body is positioned, and having good feedback from your muscles and joints about how you are moving.
Think about the last time you learned a new movement with your body. Or when you learned a new sport as a child. A lot of effort when into thinking about how you needed to move in order to be accurate in your movement. This is motor planning.
For children with coordination difficulties, poor awareness of their own body, or difficulties with planning, being able to plan out and then complete movements is an energy intensive activity. For many children, they have difficulties with even coming up with an idea of what they would like to do with their body. For example, they may want a toy form a high shelf, but have no idea of how to get it. Or their idea may be completely unworkable.
For children with movement and planning difficulties, they often require many repetitions before they master a movement. Essentially, they need to plan it out consciously every time they complete it until the movement pattern is firmly established. If we think about getting dressed for example, this requires a significant amount of sequencing, body awareness and planning of movements. Imagine now that every morning you are doing this for the very first time. The level of concentration, planning and energy used, not to mention the time required, is very significant for a child.