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  • AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication): modalities to share ideas aside from talking. This could include facial expressions or gestures, sign language, picture exchange, or a communication device. 

 

  • Abduction – the movement of a limb away from the midline of the body

 

  • Adaptive response: an appropriate action in which the individual responds successful to some environmental demand.  Adaptive responses require good sensory integration, and they also further the sensory integrative process. 

 

  • ADL/ADLS: activities of daily living.  Examples include: bathing, grooming, dressing, hygiene related skills, etc.

 

  • Articulation: the production of speech sounds.

 

  • Auditory processing: difficulties in the processing of auditory information. Difficulties with auditory processing can be associated with difficulties with phonological awareness, following verbal directions, and paying attention in noisy environments.

 

  • Bilateral coordination: the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time in a controlled and organized manner. This can mean using both sides of the body to do the same thing, as in using a rolling pin or using alternating movements, like when walking or climbing stairs, or when using different movements on each side, like when cutting with scissors while holding the paper with the other hand.

 

  • Disfluency: a break or disruption in the flow of speech of an individual, such as a word or sound repetition, revisions of words already said, or insertion of filler words (e.g. um, like, well).

 

  • Double limb stance – Standing with both feet on the ground

 

  • Dysgraphia: a writing disorder characterized by difficulty with physically writing. A person with dysgraphia may find writing slow and laborious, and their handwriting may be difficult to read.

 

  • Dyslexia: a reading disorder characterized by difficulty decoding words by attributing speech sounds to written letters. Many times, dyslexia is associated with reversing letters and letter orders, but these error patterns are not always noted in persons with dyslexia.

 

  • Dyspraxia: poor praxis or motor planning that is often related to a decrease in sensory processing.

 

  • Echolalia: repeating others’ words or sentences, either immediately after or delayed from the other speaker’s model. The meaning of the words and sentences may not be understood by the person who is repeating them. The person repeating may use the words and sentences to communicate a message to the listener, or they may repeat to self-soothe, to process, or to rehearse or review their own ideas (see “scripting”).

 

  • Eye-hand coordination: the efficient teamwork of the eyes and hands, necessary for activities such as playing with toys, dressing, and writing.

 

  • Expressive language: the ability to express oneself, through verbal language, sign, or augmentative/alternative communication.

 

  • Extension: the act of straight in the neck, back, arms, or legs.

 

  • Fine Motor: referring to movement of the muscles in the fingers, toes, eyes, and tongue.

 

  • Fine motor skills: the skilled use of one’s hands- the ability to move the hands and fingers in a smooth, precise, and controlled manner. Fine motor control is essential for handling of classroom tools and materials- may also be referred to as dexterity.

 

  • Flexion: the act of bending or pulling in a part of the body.

 

  • Fluency: as it relates to speech, fluency is the ability to speak smoothly and easily without too many breaks in the forward flow of speech.

 

  • Gait – the movement of walking or running

 

  • Gravitational insecurity: extreme fear and anxiety that one will fall when one’s head position changes.  This is often related to poor processing of vestibular and proprioceptive information.

 

  • Gross Motor: movements of the large muscles of the body.

 

  • Gross motor skills: coordinated body movements involving the large muscle groups, for example, running, walking, hopping, climbing, throwing, and jumping.

 

  • Half Kneel – a kneeling position with 1 knee on the ground and the other leg flexed in front of the body

 

  • Hyperlexia: an ability to read words despite not having prior direct instruction in decoding (sounding out) words that is considered beyond the expectation for someone of the child’s chronological age. Hyperlexia can present itself in a number of ways. Sometimes it is accompanied by an intense fascination with letters, written words, and/or numbers, and sometimes, though the child can decode words well beyond what is expected for their chronological age, the child does not understand the meaning of the words they have read.

 

  • Hypernasality: increased air through the nasal cavities while speaking. For the speech sounds in the English language, we expect air through the nose on sounds “m,” “n,” and “ng,” but not other consonants or vowels. If hypernasality is present, some other consonants may unintentionally sound more like “m,” “n,” and “ng.”

 

  • Hyponasality: decreased air through the nasal cavities while speaking. This might sound like the speaker has a cold and a clogged nose, with sounds requiring nasal airflow like  “m,” “n,” and “ng’ sounding more like “b” and “d.”

 

  • Hypersensitivity: oversensitivity to sensory stimuli, characterized by a tendency to be either fearful and cautious, or negative and defiant.

 

  • Hypersensitive to movement: a sense of disorientation and/or avoidance of movement that is linear and/or rotary.

 

  • Hyposensitivity: the under-sensitivity to sensory stimuli, characterized by a tendency to either crave intense sensations or to withdraw and be difficult to engage.

 

  • Intelligibility: how easy or hard it is for others to understand someone’s speech.

 

  • Interoception: the sense that provides information about the internal state of our body, i.e. how our body is feeling on the inside. For example, awareness of hunger, thirst, pain, need for bathroom, or need for rest.

 

  • Motor control: the ability to regulate and motor the motions of one’s muscle group to work together harmoniously to perform movements. For example, the ability to move your toothbrush across your teeth requires a particular amount of control in your hand and arm.

 

  • Motor coordination: the ability to use multiple body parts for a particular action.  For example, dribbling a basketball requires the coordination of your arms and hands to bounce the ball, coordination of your eye muscles to come together and apart in watching where the ball is moving, and coordination of your feet and legs to move your body around the basketball court.

 

  • Motor planning: the ability to conceive of, organize, sequence, and carry out an unfamiliar and complex body movement in a coordinated manner.  Also referred to as praxis.

 

  • Muscle tone: the degree of tension normal present when one’s muscles are relaxed or in a resting state.

 

  • Nonverbal language: gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact, body language, posture, and other ways people can communicate without using language.

 

  • Nystagmus: a series of automatic, back-and-forth eye movements.

 

  • Quadruped – hands and knees position

 

  • Perseveration: repeating a word, phrase, gesture, or behavior, even though the original cause of the word, phrase, etc. is not present or has disappeared (e.g. opening a book, seeing a sheep on the first page and the child says “sheep!” and flipping to other pages and seeing new animals and places and actions, with no more sheep pictured, and child continues to say “sheep!”).

 

  • Phoneme: a speech sound.

 

  • Phonological awareness: the ability to perceive similarities and differences between speech sounds as well as their positions in words. This term also refers to the ability to manipulate or change the sounds in words (e.g. generating rhyming words, dividing a sentence into words, dividing a word into syllables, etc). This is a foundational skill for reading that can be affected by speech sound disorders.

 

  • Pragmatic language: the use of appropriate communication in social situations. Pragmatic language includes, but is not limited to, the ability to use language for a variety of purposes, participate appropriately in conversations, and understanding nonverbal language.

 

  • Prone: the horizontal body position with the face and stomach downward.

 

  • Proprioception: the perception of sensation from the muscles and joints. It tells the brain when and how muscles are contracting or stretching, and when and how the joints are bending, extending or being pulled or 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 oral, signed, or written language.

 

  • Resonance: the way the voice sounds based on how the voice is resonating (vibrating) in the throat, nose, and mouth. For the voice quality to sound normal, the nasal cavity must be shut off from the oral cavity during most speech sounds produced.

 

  • Rotary movement: turning or spinning in circles

 

  • Scripting: repeating others’ words or sentences, usually delayed from the other speaker’s model. Many times, the word “scripting” is used to describe when a person repeats lines from movies, but also sometimes scripts can come from favorite books or something someone else has said. The meaning of the words and sentences may not be understood by the person who is repeating them. The person repeating may use the words and sentences to communicate a message to the listener, or they may repeat to self-soothe, to process, or to rehearse or review their own ideas (see “echolalia”).

 

  • Self-Regulation: the ability to control one’s activity level and state of alertness, as well as one’s emotional, mental, or physical responses to senses; self-organization.

 

  • Sensory Defensiveness: child’s behavior in response to sensory input, reflecting over-reactions or a low threshold to a specific sensory input.

 

  • Sensory Diet: the multi sensory experiences that one normally seeks on a daily basis to satisfy one’s sensory appetite; a planned and scheduled activity program that an occupational therapist develops to help a person become more self-regulated.

 

  • Sensory discrimination: the ability to perceive various aspects of sensation (light, touch, texture, smell, taste, etc)

 

  • Sensory input: the streams of neural impulses flowing from the sense receptors in the body to the spinal cord and brain.

 

  • Sensory integration: the process by which we receive information through our senses, organize this information, and use it to participate in everyday activities.

 

  • Sensory integrative dysfunction: the inefficient neurological processing of information received through the senses, causing problems with learning, developmental, and behavior.

 

  • Sensory Modulation: the process by which the brain takes in various forms of sensory inputs and sorts them all out. It is the ability to effectively regulate the degree to which one is influenced by various sensory inputs. Efficient sensory modulation allows the central nervous system to regulate such things as attention and arousal level by enabling one to attend to important stimuli, filter out irrelevant stimuli, and modify the amount of stimuli one is exposed to.

 

  • Sensory Registration: initial awareness of a single input; assigning value and emotional tone to a stimulus.

 

  • SGD (Speech Generating Device): a form of augmentative and alternative communication (see above) in which the communicator uses a computer based system to communicate

 

  • Single limb stance – Standing on 1 foot

 

  • Supine: the horizontal body position with the face and stomach upward.

 

  • Tactile: pertaining to the sense of touch on the skin. Also refers to various qualities attributed to touch, including detecting pressure, temperature, light touch, pain, and discriminative touch

 

  • Tactile defensiveness: a sensory integrative dysfunction in which tactile sensations create negative emotional reactions.  It is associated with distractibility, restlessness, and behavior problems.

 

  • Tall kneel – a kneeling position with both knees on the ground

 

  • Vestibular system: the sensory system that responds to the position of the head in relation to gravity and accelerated and decelerated movement; it integrates neck, eye, and body adjustments to movement.

 

  • Visual discrimination: differentiating among symbols and forms, such as matching or separating colors, shapes, numbers, letters or words

 

  • Visual Figure Ground: differentiation between objects in the foreground and background

 

  • Visual motor: referring to one’s movements based on the perception of visual information

 

  • Visual motor skills: the ability to take in visual information, process it, and be able to coordinate your physical movement in relation to what has been viewed. It involves a combination of visual perception and motor coordination. Difficulty with visual motor skills can result in inaccurate reaching, pointing, and grasping of objects, as well as difficulty with coping, drawing, tracing, and cutting.

 

  • Visual perception: the ability to perceive and interpret what the eyes see.

 

  • Visual perceptual skills: the ability to interpret and use what is seen in the environment. Difficulties in this area can interfere with a child’s ability to learn self-help skills like tying shoelaces and academic tasks like copying from the blackboard or finding items in a busy background.

 

  • Visual-Spatial Processing Skills: perceptions based on sensory information received through the eyes and body as one interacts with the environment and moves one’s body through space. Including: depth perception, directionality, form constancy, position in space, spatial awareness, visual discrimination, and visual figure-ground.

 

  • Voice: referring to the appropriateness of the pitch, loudness, and quality of the sound produced by the speaker’s vocal folds. Hoarseness, breathiness, or roughness while speaking can be signs there is an issue related to the speaker’s voice. A child may have difficulty saying speech sounds with a perfectly normal pitch, loudness, and voice quality; this issue would not be considered related to their voice.

 

  • Word-finding difficulty: when a person has difficulty retrieving a word they already know well. This is considered to be different from vocabulary knowledge; the person can demonstrate knowledge of the word if their conversation partner were to speak it aloud or ask them to point to it out of a line of photographs. Typically, the person experiencing this difficulty shows signs of frustration and may even verbalize “I know it, but I can’t remember the name!”

 

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