Useful Definitions

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) The three primary characteristics are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, it can present as one, two or three of these traits.

Auditory processing is a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. Humans hear when energy that we recognize as sound travels through the ear and is changed into electrical information that can be interpreted by the brain. The “disorder” part of ‘auditory processing disorder’ means that something is adversely affecting the processing or interpretation of the information.

Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) This is an umbrella term to cover a number of symptoms and traits. The brain activity and brain circuits of a person with autism are different from those of somebody not affected. There may be impairments of social interaction, impairments of communication and/or impairments of imagination.

Behavioural Optometry/visual therapy is an expanded area of optometry that uses a "holistic" approach to the treatment of vision and visual processing problems. The practice of behavioral optometry incorporates various visual therapy methods and has been characterized as a complementary alternative medicine practice.

Bilateral integration This is the ability to move both sides of the body in opposing patterns of movement. Crossing the midline involves crossing the imaginary line down the centre of the body with each hand i.e. putting something on the left side using the right hand and vice versa, once this is mastered it makes ball skills, handwriting and many other functional tasks much easier.

Body awareness This is the understanding of your body’s position in relation to the world around you.

Comorbidity, is a medical term to describe the presence of one or more disorders (or diseases) in addition to a primary disease or disorder. For example dyslexia and dyspraxia sometimes co-exist.

Core stability This relates to the muscle strength and control around the trunk. Some people describe it as your ‘natural corset’  It is required for any activities where the limbs are being used to stabilize the body in a controlled manner without tiring.

Developmental delay is any significant lag in a child's physical, cognitive, behavioural, emotional, or social development, in comparison with their peers.

Dyscalculia is a specific maths disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending maths. It includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning math facts, and a number of other related symptoms. Math disabilities can also occur as the result of some types of brain injury, in which case the proper term is acalculia, to distinguish it from dyscalculia which is of innate, genetic or developmental origin. Dyscalculia occurs in people across the whole I.Q. range.

Dyslexia the word literally means dys -‘difficulty with’ and lexia- meaning words or language, it affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent reading, writing and spelling. It is not related to general intelligence or social background.

Dyspraxia the word literally means dys - ‘difficulty with’ and praxis- which refers to the planning and carrying out of automatic voluntary movements. Therefore dyspraxia means difficulty in getting the body to do what you want, when you want and how you want i.e. difficulty in the planning and processing of movement of the body.

Expressive language is what a child says. It is commonly seen as consisting of three parts i) expressive vocabulary ii) word and sentence formation and iii) pragmatic development i.e.the ability to use language socially.

Fine motor Skills These are the small body movements particularly of the hands that we use in everyday tasks, such as dressing, eating, writing, cutting and personal hygiene.

Gross motor Skills These are the skills that allow our large body movements such as running, jumping, hopping, riding a bike or swimming.

Hypermobilty Connective tissue proteins such as collagen give the body its intrinsic toughness. When they are differently formed, the results are mainly felt in the joints, muscles, tendons (join muscle to bone), ligaments (join bone to bone) - which are laxer and more fragile than is the case for most people. The result is joint laxity with hyper-mobility and with it comes vulnerability to the effects of injury and reduced stability.

IQ - Intelligence quotient is a score derived from one of several different standardised tests designed to assess intelligence.

Laterality This relates to the preference for side of the body over the other, which leads to having specific hand, foot and eye dominance.

Motor planning This is the ability to plan the necessary movements required to move from one position to another, to organise and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions.

Motor Skills are motions carried out when the brain, nervous system, and muscles work together.

Pelvic stability This relates to the muscle strength and laxity around the pelvis.  It is required for activities such as standing on one leg, hopping and kicking a ball.

Phonology These are the sounds of language

Proprioception This is the sense that allows information to be sent to the brain from the joints and muscles about the position and movement of the body.  It allows us to make continual adjustments and corrections to our body to suit the task we are doing.

Receptive language is the comprehension of language - listening and understanding what is communicated.

Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) is a neurosurgical procedure that selectively destroys problematic nerve roots in the spinal cord. It is most often used to relieve the symptoms of conditions such as spastic diplegia and other forms of spastic cerebral plasy.

Sensory modulation refers to a complex central nervous system process by which neural messages that convey information about the intensity, frequency, duration, complexity, and novelty of sensory stimuli are adjusted

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within the own body visual (sight), auditory (hearing), tactile (touch), olfaction (smell), gustatory (taste), vestibular (balance/spatial orientation) and proprioception.

Shoulder stability This relates to the muscle strength and joint laxity around the shoulder.  It is an important factor for hand function and a prerequisite for writing function.

Spatial awareness This is the ability to judge distance and direction of oneself in relation to other objects.

Stuttering is a form of fluency disorder sometimes called ‘bumpy speech.’ The smooth flow of speech can be interrupted in a number of ways; by repeating sounds, syllables, words and phrases, prolonging sounds or using interjections such as urrmm.

Visual processing is the processes of recognizing and interpreting information taken in through the senses of sight. The “disorder” part of ‘visual processing disorder’ means that something is adversely affecting the processing or interpretation of the information.