The evaluation process has three main components:
- Motor skills coordination assessment
- Sensory system(s) evaluation
- Medical history/background including pregnancy, birth and motor/speech/cognitive development
The person in this photograph cannot focus his eyes on one point because he has difficulty with coordination and conscious control of his eyeball muscles. Because reading requires smooth, effortless functioning of these muscles, this problem could lead to reading difficulties. The student might struggle to keep his eyes on the right place on the paper, he could tire easily, lose concentration and probably won’t enjoy the act of reading. He could also have faulty depth perception which would inhibit his participation in the sports and playground games that are important in building coordination, balance, and a sense of social competence. He could constantly bump into things and might be considered clumsy.
Bilateral Co-ordination of the Limbs
Gross motor activities are directly connected to integrated communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. To examine the degree to which the two hemispheres are able to interact, this child has been asked to perform cross jumps while alternating limbs. Even though she understood intellectually what she was supposed to do, she was unable to perform the movements. The attempt generated great tension and frustration. Such a response might lead to difficulty in modulating her emotions and could turn into resistance to and avoidance of sports and outdoor activities resulting in social isolation and low self-esteem.
Fine Motor Abilities
This child cannot separate the actions of his hands. Instead of being relaxed and inactive while the right hand is performing finger movement, the fingers of the left hand accumulate enormous muscular tension. This tension could turn into resistance to, or total avoidance of, any fine motor activity such as drawing, writing or cutting. As a result the child might not develop the fine motor control needed to perform a variety of everyday tasks, including writing.
The Motor Skills Evaluation
This part of the evaluation measures the body’s ability to perform several different activities while breathing consciously and answering either cognitive or emotional questions simultaneously. In combination, these outcomes give sufficient measure of the body’s current capacity and maximum potential.
Since every action a person performs combines the work of a number of systems simultaneously, the search for the root cause of the person’s difficulty will focus on how those systems coordinate with one another without causing tension or distress in any given system. Tension or distress is a sign of lack of integration between two (or more) systems and/or intelligences.
Motor Skills Coordination Assessment
- Eye motor ability: A lack of proficiency in eye motor control will cause difficulties in areas such as reading, sports, spatial awareness, and other visual-motor activities. Weak eye muscles can cause dizziness, nausea, lack of balance, and more.
- Fine motor ability: A lack of proficiency in the fingers and hands will cause difficulties performing actions that require refined use of these muscles, such as writing, drawing, cutting, getting dressed, etc.
- Gross motor ability: A lack of proficiency in this ability will create tension and frustration during various physical activities, including sports, ball games, jumping, running, climbing stairs, and more.
- Bilateral coordination: Bilateral coordination involves communication between the brain’s left and right hemispheres and enables all of a person’s limbs to work together simultaneously.
- When bilateral coordination is underdeveloped, it can affect gross and fine motor skills, as well as the ability of the eye muscles to track objects. It can also cause the person to be unable to manage his/her emotional impulses, or to respond disproportionately to simple events.
- Posture: Poor posture will make it difficult for a person to sit for extended periods of time; it affects the angle of the vertebrae and joints and causes pressure on the nervous system, which can cause an accumulation of tension and cramps in the muscles.
- Conscious breathing: When a person’s brain has not developed a sufficient neural network in support of performing a particular motor activity, that activity is difficult to carry out. As a result, the person automatically lowers his breathing rate. What becomes problematic is that he does so in contradiction to the fact that his body needs a larger amount of oxygen in order to perform the task.
Within the context of the evaluation, every stop in the continuity of one’s breathing shows that the person has difficulty in the integration between the motor and sensory systems involved.
- Hypersensitivity to touch: This can cause the child to shy away from other children, avoid gentle stroking, avoid substances that cause sensitivities (e.g., sand, grass, cotton, clothing tags, certain textures, etc.). The child can also seek out a strong, massage-like touch, play with aggressiveness toward others, and more.
- Hyposensitivity to touch: Hyposensitivity to touch can make the child act aggressively to such an extent that he might throw himself against a wall, seek out fights with other children and wrestle at any opportunity.
- Hypersensitivity to pain: This can cause any touch to be painful. It can make the child resist hugs or massages, avoid physical closeness, move around constantly while sitting, or even have difficulty holding writing utensils.
- Hypersensitivity in taste: This can make the child avoid many types of food, react harshly to foods with certain textures, or only eat particular foods for a long period of time.
- Hypersensitivity to smell: This can cause autonomic (involuntary) responses such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, as well as strong emotional responses to different smells, including smells of different foods.
- Hypersensitivity to sound: This can cause concentration and thinking difficulties in any place with loud or changing sounds (e.g., a classroom). It may cause the child to withdraw, avoid crowds, be afraid of certain noises, or have difficulties with spatial awareness. The child may listen to very loud music in order to block out other sources of sound.
- Hypersensitivity to light and vision: Hypersensitivity to light and vision is usually expressed in sensitivity to different types of light, sensitivity to others’ emotions, and difficulty in wanting to communicate with different types of people.
- Spatial orientation: This ability is connected to the child’s perception of himself and his body in regard to the environment. Difficulty with spatial orientation is usually related to issues in eye motor and gross motor coordination as well as improper sensory processing in any one of the senses.
- The vestibular system: This system deals with a person’s sense of balance, movement, and spatial orientation. Problems relating to this system can cause dizziness, unsteadiness, fear, tension, and more.
- Organizational ability: This ability is a measure of the “perfection” of the motor and sense systems; difficulties with organization skills indicate a problem in one or more functional systems.