Reading Body Movements


Purpose:  To develop visual/verbal/auditory matching at the action level.

Materials: Large mirror


1.  Home assistant is to stand facing the patient.

2.  Move one arm or leg in a simple pattern.  For example, tap your right foot on the floor two times.

3.  Have the patient say what he saw.  Be sure to question the child about his verbal descriptions until all aspects of time and directionality are incorporated in his response.  In this illustration, he should be able to state, “You tapped your right foot on the floor two times gently.”  If you tapped three or more times, in or out of rhythm, this should be noted also.

4.  Vary the procedure using two or more body parts in the same act.

5.  Vary the procedure by both of you standing in front of the mirror.  Have the child describe the actions of home assistant, as seen in the mirror.

6.  Also have child describe his own actions seen in the mirror as though being done by a child facing him.

Aspects to be emphasized:

1.  Start by having the child stand side by side with home assistant, if it is too difficult when facing one another.

2.  Ability to label and describe body parts, movements, orientations, rhythms, relationships and intensities.

3.  As skill improves, make movements more subtle, such as blinking an eye, moving a finger, etc.

Other notes:

1.  Note that this activity may be too simple for more mature clients and older children, but should be attempted to determine if the client is able to complete the most challenging elements fairly easily; if this is the case, move on to another activity.

2.  Try turning the tables on the client by having them do the movements that you, the therapist, must ‘read’.

3.  Also try giving the client specific movements to do with and without a mirror.



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