Pediatric Occupational Therapy Terms; M-P


A median line dividing the two halves of the body. Crossing the midline is the ability to use one side of part of the body (hand, foot, or eye) in the space of the other side or part

The brain’s ability to regulate its own activity which requires the internal ability to modulate a balance between neural inhibition and facilitation in order to stay regulated in behavior or to regulate force of movement

Motor Control
The ability to regulate and monitor the motions of one’s muscle group to work together harmoniously to perform movements

Motor Coordination
The ability of several muscles or muscle groups to work together harmoniously to perform movements

Motor Planning
The ability to conceive of, organize, sequence, and carry out an unfamiliar and complex body movement in a coordinated manner, a piece of praxis

Muscle Tone
The tension in a muscle. Muscle tone should be high enough to hold a position against gravity, yet low enough to move a body through its full range of motion. Low muscle tone is lack of tension and high muscle tone is excessive tension

Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT)
A treatment approach designed to help a child normalize muscle tone and posture while moving through space

Occupational Therapy

A health profession dedicated to helping people function as effectively and independently as possible within their activities of daily living that comprise their ‘occupation’ or life roles

Ocular Motor Control

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

Up and down or to and from linear movement, such as swinging, bouncing, and jumping

The meaning and, understanding, and relationship of sensory input

Physical Therapy
Dynamic profession with an established scientific base and clinical application in restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function

The ability of the brain to change, adapt, or to be changed as a result of activity and stimulation

Position in Space
Awareness of the spatial orientation of letters, words, numbers, or drawings on a page, or of an object in the environment

Postural Adjustments
The ability to shift one’s body in order to change position for a task or postural demand

Postural Control
The ability to sustain the necessary background posture (trunk and neck) to efficiently carry out a skilled task, such as reading or handwriting

Postural Insecurity

Fear of body movements that is related to poor balance and postural control, and deficient “body-in-space” awareness

Postural Stability
The ability to maintain the body in a position to efficiently complete a task or demand

Refers to motor planning and is the ability of the brain
to conceive, organize and execute unfamiliar actions in a planned action sequence

Movement reflexes that assist in successfully progressing through various stages of development needed for rolling, crawling, sit and walk, etc. As a child matures they are able to move without the need of these reflexes and
they become more integrated and do not predominate movement patterns. When a reflex continues to direct a movement pattern after an age that it should be integrated, it is considered abnormal

A horizontal position of the body where the face is positioned downward

Information that the brain receives from our muscles and joints to make us aware of body position and movement and contribute to grading movement, postural control, and coordination