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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms – these terms may be used by health and educational professionals working with children with Special Learning Needs  

APRAXIA – The lack of praxis or motor planning.  Interference with planning and executing an unfamiliar task.  

ARTICULATION The production of vowels and consonants by the active and passive articulators in the mouth.  The active articulators are the moving parts of the mouth (lips/tongue/soft palate) which can produce sounds whilst the passive articulators are the non-moving parts of the mouth (hard palate/teeth) against which, in the production of many sounds, the active articulators come into contact.  

ASYMMETRY– One side of the body is different from the other i.e. one side shorter or more flexed than the other.  

AUDITORY– Pertaining to hearing.  

AUDITORY SEQUENTIAL MEMORYThe ability to hear a sequences of sounds or words or sentences and be able to hold them in the memory for sufficient time so as to be able to gain information from them, process that information and respond to it.  

AUDITORY DISCRIMINATION The ability to recognise differences in the phoneme.  This includes the ability to identify words and sounds that are similar and those that are different.  

AUDITORY PERCEPTUAL PROBLEMSTrouble taking information through the sense of hearing and/or processing that information.  The child may hear inaccurately.  

BALANCE The ability to stay in and regain a position such as standing and sitting.   

BILATERAL INTEGRATIONThe ability to move both sides of the body in opposing patterns of movement such as jumping sideways.  

BODY AWARENESS The sensory knowledge of oneself moving through space.  

BODY IMAGE The visual knowledge of oneself.  

BODY PERCEPT A person’s perception of his own body, it consists of sensory pictures or ‘maps’ of the body stored in the brain.  It may also be called the body scheme or body image.  

BODY SCHEMA The sensory knowledge of oneself.  

BEERYA development test of Visual Motor Integration.( see visual perception)  

CENTRAL PROGRAMMING – Neural functions that are innate within the central nervous system; they do not have to be learned.  Crawling on hands and knees and walking are good examples of centrally programmed actions.  

CEREBRAL PALSYPermanent, but not unchanging, disorder of posture and movement resulting from brain damage.  

CLUTTERING – Rapid and muddled speech.  

CO-CONTRACTION – The simultaneous contraction of all the muscles around a joint to stabilise it.  

CO-ORDINATIONMuscles moving together to achieve smooth, efficient movements.  

DCDQ – a movement test for parents to complete  

DEVELOPMENTProcess of growth of all body parts and functions, physical, emotional and intellectual.  

DIRECTIONAL AWARENESSThe ability to move in different directions such as forwards, backwards,                         sideways and diagonally.  

DOMINANCEThis relates to the side that the child uses to carry out activities that require just one side to be used such as writing, kicking a ball, looking through a tube.  

DISTRACTIBLE Not able to concentrate.  

DYSARTHRIAThe articulation of language leading to slurred speech.  

DYSCALCULIAA problem with mathematical concepts.  

DYSGRAPHIA Extremely poor handwriting or the inability to perform the motor movements  

required for handwriting.  

DYSLEXIA – Difficulty in reading or learning to read.  

DYSPRAXIA Poor praxis or motor planning.  

EQUILIBRIUM Refers to body movements or shift in weight in order to regain/maintain balance.  

EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGECommunication by means of the spoken word.  The ability to produce spoken language that is grammatically/syntactically sound and coherent in both content and sequence.  

EXTENSION – The action of straightening back, neck, arms or legs.  

EYE / HAND CO-ORDINATION – The ability of the hands and eyes to work together.  It is needed for writing, for example.  

FINE MOTOR SKILLSUsing small movements of the hands such as handwriting, using cutlery.  

FINGER AGNOSIA – The ability to recognise which finger is being touched when vision is excluded.  

FLEXION – The act of bending or pulling in a part of the body.  

FLOPPY Parts (or all) of the body that feel very loose and can be moved in a greater range than you would expect.  

GRAPHEME – Letters of the alphabet.  

GROSS MOTORLarge movements e.g. kicking and catching a ball, running.  

HIGHER LEVEL LANGUAGEThe ability to process, integrate, interpret and organise verbal/written language.  

I.E.P. – Individual Education Plan for the child with special educational needs.  

KINAESTHESIA – To know where your body is in space.  

MID LINE – This develops out of laterality.  A child needs to have a well defined mid line in order to develop a sense of space around him and to be able to orientate himself to his surroundings.  

MID LINE CROSSING – The ability of your hand to cross from one side of the body to the other.  Required for activities such as handwriting.  

MINIMAL CROSSINGThe ability of your hand to cross from one side of the body to the other.  

MINIMAL BRAIN DYSFUNCTION A mild or minimal neurological abnormality that causes learning difficulties in the child with near average intelligence.  

MOTOR PLANNING – This is the ability of the brain to to conceive and organise and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions – also known as praxis.  

MOVEMENT ABC – a movement assessment test  

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY – Management of activities of daily living and educational skills.  

OPTOMETRIST – Tests people’s vision and prescribes glasses.  

ORAL PERIPHERAL EXAMINATIONThe passive and active oral structures are investigated to ascertain the existence of any abnormality.  Their function is then determined to ascertain whether any breakdown in the accuracy/speed/sequencing co-ordination of movement could be contributing to decreased speech intelligibility and/or exacerbating feeding patterns.  

ORTHOPTIST – A professional who specialises in the movement of the eyes and children’s visual problems.  

PELVIC STABILITY – This relates to the joint laxity and the muscle strength of and around the hips.  

PERCEPTION – The meaning the brain gives to sensory input.  Sensations are objective, perception is subjective.  

PERCEPTUAL CONSTANCYThe ability to perceive an object as possessing certain properties such as shape, position and size in spite of the different way it may be presented.  

PHONEME – Speech sound.  

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS – The understanding that language is made up of individual sounds which are put together to form the words that we speak and write.  It is the ability to identify numbers of syllables and repeat multi-syllabic words to detect/generate rhymes, to blend and segment words into their component syllables and sounds.  These skills are pre-requisite skills for developing reading, writing and spelling.  

PHYSIOTHERAPY – Management of movement disorders.  

POSTURE – A position from which a child starts moving, any movement when it stops.  

PRONE – The body position with the face and stomach downward.  

PRAGMATICS – The social use of language.  

PROPRIOCEPTION – From the Latin word ” one’s own”.  The sensations from the muscles and joints.  Proprioceptive input tells the brain when and how the joints are bending, extending or being pulled and compressed.  This information enables the brain to know where each part of the body is and how it is moving.  

RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE – The ability to understand language.  

REFLEXES – Always exactly the same response to certain stimulus e.g. turning the head to the left causes extension of limbs on that side, and flexion of limbs on the other side.  

REFRACTIVE ERROR – The lens power required producing a perfectly focused image on the retina.  

SEMANTIC – The meaning of words  

SENSORY INPUT – The streams of electrical impulses flowing from the sense receptors in the body to the spinal cord and brain.  

SENSORY INTEGRATION – A process that describes the ability to organise sensory information for use.  

SEQUENCING – The ability to master individual steps of an activity and pass from one component part to the next in the correct order.  

SHOULDER STABILITY – This relates to the muscle strength and joint laxity of the shoulders.  

SKILL – The efficiency of carrying out a task.  

SPATIAL AWARENESS – The ability of the child to judge distances and direction of himself in relation to other objects (i.e. moving around objects in a room and not knocking into them).  

SPATIAL ORIENTATION – Knowledge of space, the distance between self and objects in the environment.  

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY – The management of eating, drinking, speech and language and communication difficulties.  

STEREOGNOSIS – The ability to perceive and understand shape, size and texture of objects by the sense of touch alone.  

SUPINE – Horizontal position with face and stomach upward.  

SYMMETRICAL INTEGRATION – The ability to move both sides simultaneously in identical patterns of movement e.g. jumping forward with both feet together 10 times out of 10.  

TACTILE DEFENSIVENESS – A sensory integrative dysfunction in which tactile sensations cause excessive emotional reactions, hyperactivity or other behavioural problems.  

TONE – Firmness of the muscles.  

TVPS – A non-motor test for visual perception.  

VESTIBULAR SYSTEM – The sensory system that responds to the position of the head in relation to gravity and decelerated or accelerated movement.  

VISUAL – Pertaining to sight.  

VISUAL CLOSURE – The ability to recognise an object when presented as an incomplete form.  

VISUAL DISCRIMINATION – The ability to discriminate similarities and differences in characteristics, arrangements, sequences/organisation of visual stimuli.  

VISUAL FIGURE GROUNDThe ability to differentiate stimulus from its background or the ability to attend to one stimulus without being distracted by irrelevant visual stimulus.  

VISUAL MEMORY – The ability to recall characteristics of stimuli through vision only.  

VISUAL MOTOR INTEGRATION – The integration of visual motor information which enables eye-hand co-ordination that is required to carry out activities.  

VISUAL PERCEPTION – Judging depth, visual closure, visual discrimination and visual figure ground i.e. difficulty processing information, seeing the difference between two objects, trouble seeing how far and near objects might be.  

VISUAL SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS – The ability to sense the relationship of objects from each other and yourself.  Depth,           length, position, direction and movement are all aspects of this sense.  

WORD FINDING DIFFICULTIES – One has difficulty thinking of the word one wants to say quickly and accurately, even though one knows the word.  These difficulties interrupt attempts at conversation and are frustrating for the speaker and the listener.