GLOSSARY OF TERMS
ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (ADL)-The activities a person performs throughout the day, such as dressing, toileting, bathing, cooking, etc.
ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY-An injury to the brain that occurs after birth, including lack of oxygen to the brain, bleeding, infection, stroke, tumor or traumatic brain injury.
AGNOSIA-Loss of comprehension of auditory, visual, or other sensations although the sensory sphere is intact; inability to recognize an object
ALERT PROGRAM-A program that provides steps for teaching self-regulation awareness. Also see, How Does Your Engine Run.
ANOXIA-lack of oxygen to the brain, damaging brain cells.
ANOXIC INJURY-Lack of oxygen flow to the brain resulting in damage to brain cells. Can occur from a traumatic or non-traumatic event.
AQUATIC THERAPY-A type of rehabilitation therapy that uses the therapeutic properties of water. Warm water enhances muscle relaxation, the buoyancy un-weights the body, while the compressive properties of the water provide an opportunity for cardiovascular work.
ASPERGERS SYNDROME-A neurobiological, developmental disorder that impairs a person's social interactions and nonverbal communications skills. A person with AS may show some features of autism but may not have the full-blown clinical picture. Individuals with AS can exhibit a variety of characteristics, and the disorder can range from mild to severe.
ASSIMILATION-Sensory process of “taking in” or receiving information that is external to or within the self-system.
ATAXIA-In-coordination of voluntary muscle movements, particularly those used in reaching and walking
ATROPHIC, ATROPHY-Pertaining to a wasting of tissues, organs, or the entire body.
ATTENTION - Attention is a complex behavior that requires the integration of
several areas of the brain. The first component of attention is
"registration", our initial awareness of a change in sensory stimuli. The
second component of attention is "orienting", an increase in our level of
alertness. The final component is involves "effort" or exploration of the
stimulus. For example, our effort might be to listen to or watch the stimulus.
AUDIOLOGY-The study of hearing and hearing disorders.
AUDITORY BRAINSTEM RESPONSE (ABR) TEST-A test that can determine the accuracy of hearing for persons who are asleep or who can't participate in a regular hearing test. It measures the way the brain reacts when the ear hears sound.
AUTISM-A biological disorder of the brain that impairs a person's communication and social skills. An abnormality in interpersonal relationships exhibited in early childhood and characterized by self-absorption to the detriment of influence by external reality.
AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM (ANS)-Subdivision of the peripheral nervous system (part of the nervous system that lies outside of the spinal cord and brain). It is involved in ‘automatic’ activities that are not normally under conscious control, for example digestion, breathing, control of blood pressure.
BILATERAL INTEGRATION - refers to the ability to use the two sides of the
body together in a coordinated manner. Examples of bilateral tasks include:
running, skipping and jumping with both feet together.
BODY AWARENESS-an internal body "map" that each of us has that allows us to know where we are, what position we are in, and how we are moving at any given moment. The body map allows us to move without relying on our visual system to guide each movement. The body map is created over time as we develop from infancy throughout childhood, via repeated accurate sensory inputs produced from our motion through space.
CEREBRAL PALSY-A group of neurological disorders with etiology in the central nervous system, particularly at motor control centers, that may occur prenatally, perinatally or postnatally, before basic muscular system coordination is achieved.
COCHLEAR IMPLANTS-A device that allows hearing. Electrodes are placed in the cochlea and attached to an induction coil buried under the skin behind the ear.
COMA-State of unconsciousness where the person is unresponsive to their surroundings.
CONCUSSION-Less severe type of brain injury. The result of the head suddenly stopping due to being hit by an object. Usually involves a change in mental state and possible disruption or damage between nerve cells in the brain.
CONTUSION(BRUISING)-Results when the brain is slammed against the bone of the skull. Can also kill neurons.
COORDINATION -Includes both motor control and praxis (motor planning).
Motor control is the ability to move with precision and smooth quality.
Praxis is defined below.
COUP-COUNTRECOUP-Bruising and contusions that occur after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the site of the blow to the head (coup) and the direct opposite side of the head from the blow (contra coup).
CVA-Cerebral vascular accident-a lesion in the brain resulting in paralysis of contra lateral side of the body.
DIPLEGIA-Paralysis of similar parts on both sides of the body.
DYSKINESIA:-Impairment of voluntary movement
DYSLEXIA-An inability to read. A severe reading problem that is of neurological origin.
DYSPRAXIA-Difficulty in performing purposeful voluntary movements, the nature and mechanism of which are understood in the absence of motor or sensory impairment.
EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAM-Programs that provide instructional resources to help children who are performing below age level obtain the necessary skills to reach age level performance in the shortest possible time. These programs serve children who are at risk of not reaching or maintaining age level. Early intervention programs are typically state programs for children birth to 3 years old, who have, or are at risk for developing, a handicapping condition or other special needs that may affect development. Services are provided in the patient's natural environment, and assistance is provided in transitioning children to early school programs at 3 years old.
EDUCATION-It is the right of all students with and without disabilities to participate in an educational program that is positive and enriching.
ELECTRICAL STIMULATION- Types of treatments that:
Can help to increase a patient's awareness that they have a muscle that should be contracting
May give added support and help strengthen the muscles in an afflicted limb for patients who have the ability to contract a muscle but can't maintain a contraction
Stimulate the nerves and the nerve endings, allowing them to begin firing and possibly regenerate
There are two types of electronic stimulation:
TENS unit helps with pain
NMES unit helps with re-education and strengthening
EQUILIBRIUM REACTIONS-Bodily reactions to retain state of balance in relation to gravity.
FINE MOTOR CONTROL-involves development of manipulation skills in the
hands (small muscle groups) to eventually allow for efficient and precise manipulation of objects.
Sensory motor skills must be well developed for this to occur, including
postural control, sensory modulation and praxis.
FLACCID-Relaxed; flabby; having defective or absent muscular tone.
FLUENCY DISORDER-A term used to describe any interruption in the flow of oral language; not restricted to stuttering.
GROSS MOTOR SKILLS-The movement of large refined muscles for activities such as locomotion and balance.
HANDWRITING THERAPY-The facilitation of proper posture, strength and stability throughout the entire body, as well as improvement of fine motor control, bilateral hand use and coordination, visual perception and visual motor skills. All of these components are necessary to produce good handwriting skills and success with written communication.
HEARING AIDS-Any electronic amplifying device that brings sound into the listener's ear.
HEMATOMAS-A pool of blood. This can occur in the brain following impact or rupture of a blood vessel, and may lead to further brain injury by damaging the nerves in contact with the hematoma or due to the squeezing of the nerves due to increased pressure.
HIPPOTHERAPY-The therapeutic use of horseback riding as a medium for physical, speech and occupational therapies. The gait of the horse provides sensory input to the patient to help them improve balance, coordination and proper body alignment for sitting, walking and other function skills.
HOW DOES YOUR ENGINE RUN-A program that assists families, teachers and therapists in helping children to choose appropriate strategies to change or maintain their state of alertness, so they can function better at home and at school.
HYDROCEPHALUS-Occurs with there is a blockage or disruption in the flow of cerebral spinal fluid, causing increased pressure in the brain.
INCREASED INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE-Build up of pressure within the skull, caused by excess fluid, swelling or bleeding.
INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN/FAMILY PLAN (IEP/IFSP)
INFANT ASSESSMENT-A physical, occupational or speech evaluation of a baby 12 months of age or younger.
KINESTHESIA-information from our joints to let us know where our body is in space.
MOBILITY-How one moves; examples are rolling, crawling, walking or driving a power wheelchair.
MODALITIES-Multiple modes of intervention used to supplement treatment and help address pain management and muscle re-education; such modalities are electrical stimulation, iontophoresis, ultrasound, ice, hot packs, taping, and TheraThogs.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)-A disorder of the central nervous system of unknown cause in which the body's immune system attacks myelin in the brain and spinal cord. Whether the disease manifests in repeated episodes of inflammation or as a chronic condition, it results in multiple scars, or scleroses, on the myelin sheath, leading to impairment or loss of nerve function.
MUSCLE TONE - This refers to the tension in a muscle. Muscle tone should
be high enough to hold a position against gravity, yet low enough to move a
body joint through its full range of motion. Abnormal muscle tone would be
either extreme tension or lack of tension in a muscle.
MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY (MD):A broad term that describes a genetic (inherited) disorder of the muscles. MD causes the muscles in the body to become very weak. The muscles break down and are replaced with fatty deposits over time. The most common form of MD is called Duchene muscular dystrophy (DMD)
MYOFASCIAL RELEASE-MFR is a gentle bodywork therapy of stretches and massage techniques using direct, hands-on touch and maneuvers to the entire body which promotes healing and relieves pain. MFR aims to release constrictions or blockages in the connecting tissue and thus alleviating tension and/or pain. It helps with posture, orthopedic issues, headaches, pain control, muscle spasms, etc.
NEURODEVELOPMENTAL TREATMENT-NDT is an advanced therapeutic approach based on the principles of human neurology and physiology practiced by experienced P.T.s, O.T.s, and S.L.P.s. This is a hands-on approach working with clients who have central nervous system difficulties controlling movement. Therapists using NDT have completed extensive advanced training and work with clients with neurological challenges such as cerebral palsy, stroke, head injury, helping them to become as independent as possible. Clients who have minimal to severe motor difficulties can benefit from an NDT approach.
NEUROLOGICAL-Pertaining to the nervous system in both its normal and diseased states.
NEUROLOGIST-MD who specializes in the disorders of the nervous system.
NEUROSURGEON-Surgical specialist who operates on the brain and nervous system.
NEWBORN HEARING SCREENING-A screening for all infants to detect hearing loss, preferably prior to hospital discharge.
OCCUPATIOANL THERAPY-is an allied health profession, working under a medical doctor's orders, in which the therapist is educated to improve a person's occupational performance. A pediatric occupational therapist works with the child and family to improve a child's play, education, or self-care skills, including adaptive equipment and splinting. An occupational therapist will evaluate the child's gross motor, fine motor, sensory integration, visual perceptual and self-care care skills. If the child and family would benefit from occupational therapy, the occupational therapist will recommend treatment and will utilize their knowledge of sensory integration, anatomy, neurology, kinesiology, child development, occupational therapy frames of reference, medical diagnosis and current research to improve the child's occupational performance. Therapy is then provided for the child through their occupation of play.
OCULAR MOTOR SCREENING AND THERAPY-Screening of eye movements to evaluate difficulty with tracking, saccadic movements, nystagmus, visual perceptual skills, and scanning that may be causing difficulty with functional skills such as inability to complete motor tasks, balance/vestibular problems, handwriting difficulties, reading, etc. Therapy would incorporate strengthening the eye(s) to help correct the functional skill(s).
ORAL PHARYNGEAL MOTILITY STUDY (OPMS)-A videoflouroscopic swallow study to identify abnormal swallowing behavior and determine alternative means of swallowing safely when necessary.
A radiographic procedure that allows the visualization of the oral activity during chewing and the oral stage of swallowing, the triggering of the pharyngeal swallow in relation to the bolus and the motor aspects of the pharyngeal swallow, including movements of the larynx, hyoid, tongue base, pharyngeal walls and cricopharyngeal region.
An X-ray to determine the safety of a personâ€™s swallowing ability to handle liquids and foods during feeding.
ORTHOTICS AND PROSTHETICS-Specialists licensed in designing and creating braces and protheses (artificial limbs) that help patients function better in their daily lives.
PHYSICAL THERAPIST-Licensed specialists who work in the area of the neuromuscular system. Physical therapists work on improving flexibility, balance, coordination, movement, posture, endurance and strength throughout the body, using various exercises and activities with patients of all ages.
POSTURAL CONTROL -refers to the ability to sustain the necessary
background posture to efficiently carry out a skilled task, such as reading
or handwriting. The ability to stabilize the trunk and neck underlies the
ability to develop efficient eye and hand movements.
PRAGMATICS-Language development in the context and environment in which it is generated. A set of rules governing the use of language in context.
PRAXIS - This is the medical term used to describe motor planning. It is
defined by Dr. A. Jean Ayres as "The ability of the brain to conceive of,
organize and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions." Inadequate
praxis, Apraxia, is often a symptom of inadequate sensory processing.
Long term problems noted in children with apraxia, include: clumsiness,
difficulty performing motor tasks at age level, difficulty following directions
and imitating movement. A child with apraxia may need extra practice and
instruction to learn a new motor task. Once he learns something, he may
refuse to try it another way and appear "stubborn".
PRIMITIVE REFLEXES- There are movement reflexes that each baby is born
with. These "primitive" reflexes assist the infant in successfully
progressing through various stages of movement so they may learn to roll,
crawl, sit and walk, etc. As a child matures, these the child is able to move
without the need of these reflexes and they become more integrated and do
not predominate or direct movement patterns. Sometimes a reflex
continues to direct or dominant movement after an age where it is normally
integrated. We would consider this an abnormal reflex pattern.
PROPRIOCEPTION- This is information that the brain receives from our
muscles and joints to make us aware of body position and body movement.
Proprioceptive makes a strong contribution to praxis, to the child's ability to
grade movement and to postural control.
REACTIONS-Complex and inconstant responses developing from integration of simultaneous sensory stimulation such as tactile, vestibular, visual, and auditory.
RECEPTIVE APHASIA-Impairment in interpretation of the meaning of spoken and written words.
RIGHTING REACTIONS-Reflexes that through various receptors in the labyrinth, eyes, muscles, or skin tend to bring an organism’s body into its normal position in space and which resist any force acting to put it into a false position; e.g., on it’s back.
SEIZURE DISORDERS-Can be caused by injury in the temporal and/or frontal lobes and can lead to a disruption of the electrical activity of the brain.
SELF REGULATION- refers to the ability to attain, maintain and change your
level of arousal appropriately for a task or situation. Arousal is considered
a state of the nervous system and describes how alert someone feels. To
attend, concentrate and perform tasks according to situational demands,
the nervous system must be in an optimal state of arousal (or alertness) for
the particular task. Adults use a variety of subtle sensory techniques to
maintain their arousal level.
SENSORY INTEGRATION-is the organization of sensations for use. Our
senses give us information about the physical conditions of our body and
the environment around us.
SENSORY INTEGRATION DYSFUNCTION-Difficulty with Central Nervous System processing or sensation, especially vestibular, tactile, or proprioceptive, which is manifested as poor praxis, poor modulation, or both.
SENSORY MODULATION- is the ability to regulate our responses in a
manner proportional to the sensory stimuli. There are children who have an
increased level of arousal and seem to be over responsive to sensory input.
This is described as sensory defensiveness. Children at the other end of
the spectrum have a decreased level of arousal and seem to be under
responsive to sensory input. This is referred to as sensory dormancy. Both
extremes of modulation may be seen in one child to the same type of
stimuli, but generally, one extreme tends to dominate. Both, cause the child
to have difficulty with allocation of attention and interfere with the
development of sensory processing skills.
SOCIAL SKILLS-Sometimes known as people skills, the ability to interact appropriately with others in a variety of situations. People on the Autism spectrum have difficulty with social skills.
SPASTICITY-Hypertonicity of a muscle, characterized by hyperactivity of the stretch reflex.
SPATIAL RELATIONS-Relationship of the skeletal parts of the body to each other and to objects in the environment.
SPEECH THERAPIST-Licensed specialists who are responsible for the evaluation and treatment of language (understanding and communicating), speech, cognition (thinking, problem solving, memory) and swallowing.
SPINAL CORD INJURY-Damage to the spinal cord in the neck or back, which results in loss of movement and/or sensation below the level of injury.
STEREOGNOSIS-Perception and identification of the form and nature of an object through the sense of touch.
STROKE OR CEREBRAL VASCULAR ACCIDENT (CVA)-disruption of the flow of blood in the brain or bleeding in the brain.
STUTTERING-A disturbance in the normal fluency and time patterning of speech.
TACTILE -This refers to our sense of touch. The sense of touch is a child's
first way to learn about the external world. It is a critical sense to
developing relationships with primary care givers and to giving comfort.
The sense of touch plays a very important role in the child's development of
body awareness and is critical in the development of praxis (motor
TACTILE DEFENSIVENESS-Quality of being unable to tolerate touch; resistive and uncomfortable at certain kinds of touch (believed to be a form of sensory integrative dysfunction)
THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES-Exercises and/or activities that are part of a therapeutic program directed by an occupational/physical therapist with very specific instructions to help patients recover and gain strength after an injury. Interventions with multiple modes for multiple body regions designed to improve/increase muscular flexibility/strength, proprioception, and neuromuscular control.
TONGUE THRUST-When, in a resting position, the anterior or lateral positions of the tongue contact more than half the surface area of either the upper or lower incisors, cuspids or bicuspids or protrude between them. Or when, during the swallow of any two of three media, there is a visible increase by the tongue forced against the teeth, protrudes between the teeth or contacts the surface area of the teeth.
TORTICOLLIS-A condition in which the child holds his head tilted to one side (ear to shoulder), with his chin/face pointing up in the opposite direction. It is most often caused by a tight sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle in the neck.
TRANSDISIPLINARY-Across many disciplines; across many professions (such as P.T., O.T., Speech, Social Work, etc.).
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)-blow, jolt or penetrating injury to the head that distrupts brain function. There are ranges of injury, mild to severe. Mild may involve a brief change in mental status or level of consciousness. Severe may involve a prolonged period of unconsciousness and/or loss of memory after the event. Deficits from a TBI may be short or long term involving the individual's ability to function.
VESTIBULAR -This is the sense that allows us to recognize how we are
moving in relationship to gravity. Receptors in our ears sense if we are
upright, upside down, moving sideways, spinning, etc. As a result of this
sensory input, we make adjustments to posture and to our eye movements.
Vestibular sensation has a strong impact not only on posture and eye
movements, but also on: balance, coordination of the two body sides, and
emotional control. Accurate vestibular processing is essential for the
development of praxis.
VISUAL CLOSURE-A child’s ability to determine, from among four incomplete forms, the one that is the same as the stimulus form (i.e., the completed form).
VISUAL DISCRIMINATION-A child’s ability to match or determine exact characteristics of two forms when one of the forms is among similar forms
VISUAL FIGURE GROUND- A child’s ability to perceive a form visually, and to find this form hidden in a conglomerated ground of matter.
VISUAL FORM CONSTANCY-A child’s ability to see a form, and being able to find that form, even though the form may be smaller, larger, rotated, reversed, and/or hidden.
VISUAL MEMORY-A child’s ability to remember for immediate recall (after four or five seconds) all of the characteristics of a given form, and being able to find this form from an array of similar forms.
VISUAL MOTOR SKILLS - refers to the development of smooth and efficient
eye movements to allow for tracking of objects, focusing on specific targets
and shifting gaze from one object to another.
VISUAL PERCEPTION -refers to the brain's ability to interpret and make
sense of visual images seen by the eyes.
VISUAL SEQUENTIAL MEMORY- A child’s ability to remember for immediate recall (after four or five seconds) a series of forms from among four separate series of forms.
VISUAL SPATIAL RELATIONS -A child’s ability to determine, from among five forms of identical configuration, the one single form or part of a single form that is going in a different direction from the other forms.