Pediatric Occupational Therapy Terms; A-F


Adaptive Response
An appropriate action in which the individual responds successfully to some environmental demand; requires good sensory integration and furthers the sensory integration process

Activities of Daily Living

Difficulty coordinating motor planning movements

Incoordination of voluntary muscle movements

Auditory Figure-Ground
The ability to discriminate between sounds in the foreground and background, allowing us to focus on a specific sound or voice without being distracted by other sounds

Auditory Perception
The ability to receive, identify, discriminate, understand, and respond to sounds

The hearing sense which allows us to hear, perceive, and process sound

Bilateral Coordination

The ability to use both sides of the body together in a smooth, simultaneous, and coordinated manner

Bilateral Integration
The neurological process of integrating sensations from both body sides; the foundation for bilateral coordination

Binocularity (Binocular Vision; Eye Teaming) Forming a single visual image from two images that the eyes separately record

Body Awareness
The mental picture of one’s own body parts, where they are, how they relate to each other, and how they move

All muscle groups surrounding a joint contracting and “working” together to provide joint stability which results in the ability to maintain a position
Includes both motor control and praxis (motor planning). Motor control is the ability to move with precision and smooth quality

Depth Perception
The ability to see objects in three dimensional and to judge distances between objects, or between oneself and objects

The awareness of right/left, forward/back, and up/down, and the ability to understand and move in those directions

Discriminative System
The ability to distinguish differences among different sensory stimuli

Deficient motor planning that is often related to a decrease in sensory processing

Balance and balance reactions

A straightening action of a joint or joints (neck, back, arms, legs)

Eye-Hand Coordination
The efficient teamwork of the eyes and hands, necessary for activities such as playing with toys, throwing and catching a ball, dressing, and writing

Fight-Or-Flight Response
The instinctive reaction to defend oneself from real or perceived danger by either fighting or withdrawing

Figure-Ground Perception
The ability to perceive a figure in the foreground from a rival background

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 efficient handling of classroom tools and materials – may also be referred to as dexterity

Aiming one’s eye or eyes at an object or shifting gaze from one object to another

Bending the body, body part, or joint

Accommodation of visual gaze smoothly between near and distant objects

Form Constancy
Recognition of a shape regardless of its size, position, or texture