Abstract

Abstract

Sensory–perceptual and motor functions are closely dependent on the integrity of the brain and nervous system. Standardized tests have been developed to assess these functions, but such tests are not routinely used to evaluate children who are suspected of having a neuropsychological basis for their difficulties. Higher-level functions (such as verbal and academic abilities, executive functioning, etc.) are obviously important in producing successful performances, but the brain and nervous system correlates of these abilities are less well defined than the correlates for sensory–motor abilities. Our contention is that tests from these two general areas (higher-level and lower-level aspects of brain functioning) can be used effectively in a complementary manner to evaluate individual children. The first step in this process is to evaluate formal sensory–motor tests and to assess their validity as a brief preliminary examination used to differentiate between brain-damaged and control children. The results of this study demonstrated striking differences between the groups and indicated that sensory–motor testing might serve very effectively, when used in conjunction with higher-level tests, to identify those children whose higher-level impairment is due to brain impairment rather than a lack of environmental opportunities or advantages.

Author notes

Presented at the Reitan Society (Tucson Chapter) on May 9, 2000.