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Recognizing Individuals with
Motor Coordination Difficulties


Written Resources

Strategies for Dealing with Motor Coordination Difficulties

Recognizing Individuals with Motor Coordination Difficulties




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•  Generally delayed two or more years in the acquisition of motor skills

•  Culturally relevant motor skills are performed at ‘lower levels’ and with unacceptable proficiency

•  Poor ability with various sized balls in throwing, kicking, catching, and striking skills

•  The individual will often withdraw from physical activities and associated environments (may be found leaning against the school walls or sitting alone during recess / lunch)

•  Tends to avoid ‘taking turns’ in sports related activities

•  Often demonstrate a low level of physical fitness (strength and endurance is lacking)

•  Reduced motivation to participate in any ‘movement’ event

•  Seems to ‘forget’ gym clothes, swimsuit, ice-skates and mittens, or other necessary equipment for physical activity; may often request notes from home to be excused from physical education class or other recreational activities

•  Student may actually appear ‘busy’ during physical education class, but close observation reveals they are not truly involved

•  May often complain of stomach aches or other ailments

•  May be the last student to enter the gymnasium for phys. ed. class

•  Resists entering novel settings (e.g. the swimming pool), and once they do, may hold on to the edge or not venture into deep water; behavioural difficulties may become evident -- ‘clowning around‘, refusing to participate, disturbing other students, showing frustration by crying, stomping, and stating that the activity is ‘stupid’ (these serve as avoidance strategies)

•  Will often avoid becoming involved in the ‘centre of action’ in a game situation

•  Tends to have a poor understanding of the object of various games and activities (e.g. may score in the opposite team's goal; not be sure when to chase or when being chased; runs in the wrong direction)

•  May attempt specific motor activities a few times, but then stop soon after

•  Tends not to initiate involvement in sporting activities, be the first person to volunteer physical demonstrations, etc.; rather, they prefer to wait and see what others do

•  May follow other classmates or players but seldom fully engage in the game play

•  Too much or too little force is often applied during skill performances

•  Tends to be somewhat delayed in their response to a motor task

•  Frequently confuse right / left directions

•  May be seen ‘stumbling’ over their feet -- movements may seem jerky or awkward

•  May see ‘overflow’ movements during times of intense concentration (e.g. mouth moving)

•  Often have difficulty following rhythms (music class or marching in unison)

•  Timing is often inaccurate, and the student may misjudge distances, force, and speed

•  Students may perform one component of a complex motor skill by isolating one body part and forgetting other coordinated movements

•  May display stiff body action or too much rotation and excessive movement of other body parts -- they simply ‘look’ awkward

•  Tends to have difficulty focusing on the important components of a motor skill demonstration -- often unsure of what to ‘look’ at

•  May show signs of fear or intense resistance to becoming involved in a motor activity

•  May also overestimate their ability, and, as a result, lack the concept of danger or risk involved in certain skills

•  May be socially isolated or have very few friends

•  Tends to exhibit difficulty with ‘failure’

•  May be able to perform one or more motor skills with a level of proficiency, but other motor tasks are extremely challenging

•  Tends to prefer involvement in individual motor skills that have repetitive components to them (e.g. swimming, dancing, bicycling)

•  Has genuine difficulty with tasks that involve moving objects and individuals, or entire teams moving around them, and recalling numerous rules at the same time (e.g. basketball, soccer)

•  May ‘freeze’ while on a certain piece of equipment or have difficulty initiating a motor task when others are watching

•  General awareness of body / limb position is limited (e.g. whether they are moving or stationary)

Updated March 3, 2006
Copyright © 2004 KAMPS