Understanding therapeutic terminology can help parents and caregivers better understand written and verbal reports from a variety of service providers.
This set of terms is used extensively in our Speech and Language Developmental Milestone Checklists and our Motor and Self-Help Developmental Milestone Checklists.
Cognitive skills are those that result from the child “knowing” something. That is, the child perceives (sees, hears, touches, tastes, smells, or otherwise senses) an object or event in her environment. These are compared with similar events in a memory bank and then thought about.
Pragmatic skills are those that have to do with the child being able to get what she wants, and usually has to do with understanding how to work and communicate with other people in the environment.
Semantic skills are those related to the understanding of the meaning of words and how to use them in a manner which conforms to the rules of the language.
Phonetic skills are found in the discrimination, understanding of and use of the speech sounds (or phonemes) which make up words in a manner which conforms to the rules of the language.
Syntactic skills are required to put strings of words together to create sentences in a manner which conforms to the rules of the language.
Gross motor skills are skills developed by moving the large muscles of the body. These skills include but are not limited to walking, sitting, jumping etc. The development of these skills is in a top to bottom manner. For example, the child first learns to hold his head up before he can sit and sit before he can stand. A person’s gross motor skill depends on the tone of the muscle (tight enough to move and relaxed enough to permit movement) and strength of the muscle.
Fine motor skills are skills developed by moving the smaller muscles of the hand with stability from the large muscles of the forearm, arm, and shoulder. Fine motor skills include but are not limited to using the hands to manipulate objects, to transfer objects from one hand to another, and coordinating visual information with hand movements.
Feeding skills are skills that involve the child being able to feed himself using appropriate utensils. It also includes feeding himself finger food and foods of various textures.
Dressing skills are skills that involve the child being able to dress/undress herself and put on/take off shoes and socks independently.