Many physical capabilities can easily be recognised and at birth and during post-natal check-ups babies will be assessed on a number of key indicators. Some physical limitations are of a ‘mechanical’ nature, where the body has not developed according to plan. There are, however, a number of physical limitations that can occur at a later stage and that are not always recognised. These can have a profound influence on how a person develops and is able to operate in the world.

In the first instance you often can get a reasonable evaluation of how physical limitations are influencing a person by simple observations you can make yourself. These can play a key role in uncovering what may lie behind learning, sensory, developmental or emotional difficulties.

Here we outline some typical observations that indicate physical limitations. Please keep in mind that some of these are clearly age related – we would not expect a six month old baby to walk down the stairs!

  • Has difficulty with rolling over
  • Has difficulty with sitting up
  • Has difficulty with pulling oneself up
  • Does not creep or crawl
  • Has difficulty with walking
  • Has difficulty with balance
  • Bumps into things or people
  • Has difficulty with going up or down stairs
  • Is very fidgety, cannot sit still
  • Has head or body tilted
  • Keeps shoulders slouched or raised
  • Keeps feet turned inwards, outwards or crossed
  • Walks or runs with an odd gait
  • Moves constantly
  • Runs, jumps or spins a lot
  • Does not like ball sports
  • Avoids most movements
  • Has difficulty with dressing oneself
  • Has difficulties with fine motor skills
  • Has difficulty with gross motor skills
  • When drawing switches pen from one hand to the other
  • Has difficulty distinguishing left from right
  • Finds it difficult to visually track from left to right
  • Draws or writes on one side of paper only
  • Has difficulty coordinating both body sides
  • Sometimes uses left and sometimes right hand
  • Kicks ball with foot opposite to dominant hand

Typical observations on their own may not be meaningful. However, where there is a cluster of indicators, possibly across a number of senses, and the person has learning, sensory, developmental or emotional difficulties, these can indicate that one or more of the senses are out of balance.

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