Foundational Skills

Everything we do in life is based to some extent on our ability to process sensory information through neurological systems. When messages are received through these systems, they are interpreted and organized by the brain which allows us to understand, learn, and respond to our environment.

Performance skills are the daily living, academic, and job related tasks we carry out every day. What we fail to recognize is that solid foundational skills are essential to solid performance skills. Weaknesses in foundational skills are clinically defined as “neurological deficits.” Poor performance is a symptom of one or more neurological deficits in the following systems:

  • Auditory Skills—The ability to receive, interpret, discriminate, and process what we hear
  • Differentiation–The ability to move one body part without the unintentional movement of other parts
  • Interhemispheric Integration—The brain’s ability to pull from both sides to balance logic with emotion, details with the bigger picture, and achieve optimal proficiency with language and learning at all levels
  • Kinesthesia—The body’s sense of movement including “muscle memory”
  • Proprioception—The brain’s unconscious sense of where the body is in space
  • The Tactile System—The sense of touch
  • The Vestibular System—Movement, gravity, balance and space
  • The Visual System—More than 20/20; visual processing is understanding what we see

Difficulties in school with reading, math, letter and number recognition, and concentration are the most familiar performance problems we observe in children, along with poor social and emotional skills. Educators, parents, and mentors work hard to correct performance, but the underlying causes of academic failure and perplexing behavior are often misunderstood or overlooked.