Parents and caregivers are often full of questions about how some of the tasks and activities from the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT; Ayres, 1989) relate to the primary area of concern of their child. In our previous posts, we described how some of the sub-tests on the SIPT relate to common goals including social skills & handwriting. In the current blog, we will provide an overview of subtests of the SIPT which relate to Self-Care.

Sequencing Praxis

What you will see in the assessment…

The therapist demonstrates a series of hand movements, and asks the child to copy.

How it’s relevant to self-care…

This subtest looks at the child’s ability to use their sense of touch and body awareness to develop a plan and move their arms and hands. It requires the child to coordinate both sides of the body, and relies on visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (‘muscle’) memory. Being able to copy and implement a sequence of actions in order is required for tasks such as toileting, washing hair, washing and drying hands, dressing and tying shoelaces. These tasks also require us to coordinate movements from both sides of the body.

Manual Form Perception

What you will see…

Whilst shielding the child’s vision, the therapist will place a shape in the child’s hand, and ask the child to ‘find’ the matching shape with the other hand amongst varying shapes on a board.

How it’s relevant…

This task requires the child to rely on their sense of touch and muscle memory to form a ‘3D mental image’ in order to find the matching shape. It requires them to coordinate this information from both sides of their body. The task also requires the child to analyse sequentially to find the match and process the next steps. Being able to identify shape, texture and size by touch without over reliance on vision is important for doing up buttons, zippers etc.

Finger Identification & Localisation of Tactile Stimuli

What you will see…

Finger Identififcation: With the child’s vision shielded, the therapist touches the child’s finger(s) in various spots, and asks the child to show the therapist where, and which finger was touched.

Locatlisation of Tactile Stimuli: Wiith the child’s vision shielded, the therapist will use a special pen to lightly place a dot on both sides of their arms and hands. After each dot, the child is then asked to point to where they think they were touched.

How it’s relevant…

In addition to being able to tolerate light touch from someone else, these sub-tests requires the child to use their sense of touch and body awareness to identify where they were touched. Using our sense of touch is essential for guiding movements, particularly when executing exact actions of our arms and hands. Touch perception also allows us to make refined adjustments to allow coordinated movements. During toileting, this is essential for being able to keep hold of toilet paper, aim and wipe effectively; during dressing it is needed for buttons and zippers. During washing tasks (e.g., hands or hair) it is needed to be able to wash without splashing clothes or getting suds in eyes. At meal times, it is also required to be able to being able to use a spoon to eat soup or drink from a full cup without spilling etc.