We use age appropriate gross motor skills to determine proficiency for controlled gross motor movement patterns. This includes tasks such as jumping jacks, scissor jacks, heel toe walking and midline nose tapping. The person's ability to perform these tasks indicates their development of motor movements in the different motor coordination systems (side/side, up/down and forward/backward). When deficits are found we address the specific motor pattern developmentally. This allows gross motor patterns to become more complicated with efficiency and accuracy.
We assess fine motor control through observation of age appropriate fine motor tasks. This can include pencil grasp, dexterity and handwriting. Hyper or Hypo force of the grasp indicates how well the hand is connected to the motor cortex. If someone does not modulate the force appropriately it indicates deficits in the upper extremity neural network for efficient fine motor development.
We assess balance through age appropriate challenges. These can include standing both feet along a line, standing on one leg and standing up on a balance beam. We complete these tasks with eyes open and then with eyes closed. The amount of difference between eyes open and eyes closed balance performance can indicate how much the person's visual system is compensating for impairments in their vestibular (balance) system. This can be very fatiguing. We additionally assess their ability to maintain balance with control and stability - is there consistent joint movement or do they have to hyper-extend their joints to keep their balance.
Articulation for speech is the fine motor movements of the mouth. When speech is delayed or articulation is compromised this indicates deficits of the neural networks for fine motor movement of the oral/facial system. Kids may with time learn how to control their intra-oral muscles to speak more clearly but if the development of this skill did not happen developmentally their intra-oral skills were gained by compensation.
Hand-eye coordination tasks are very complicated neurologically to complete. It takes gross, fine and visual motor integration to catch a ball with accuracy. We assess the integration of all these skills with various ball control skills.
Deficits in the above areas are multifaceted and can be due to many different causes. Treatment involves activating developmental sensory and motor pattern re-education, musculoskeletal alignment, and central and peripheral nervous system health to balance sympathetic (fight/flight) and parasympathetic (rest/digest) function.
The following protocols are used in our treatment planning for the above deficits: