Chapter 13

Childhood Perception and Perceptual-Motor Development

© Gallahue, D.L., & Ozmun, J.C. (2002). Understanding Motor Development. Boston: McGraw-Hill.


Key Concept

All Voluntary Movement Involves an Element of Perception, As Such, Childhood Motor Development Is Closely Associated With Perceptual-motor Functioning

The Role of Movement in Perceptual Development

Visual-motor adjustment

- Movement as a "necessary" condition? (motion hypothesis)

- Movement as a "sufficient" condition? (perception may have an impact on movement skill learning)

Children’s Visual Perception (Table 13.1)

Visual Acuity

- Static (pick out detail in stationary objects, Snellen chart: 20/20)

- Dynamic (pick out detail in moving objects)

- Developmental aspects (rapid improvement 5-7, plateau 7-8, mature 10-12)

Figure-ground Perception

- Figure (object of regard)

- Ground (background)

- Developmental aspects (slow improvement 3-4, rapid improvement 4-6, mature 8-12)

Depth Perception

- Monocular depth cues (size, texture, shading etc.)

- Binocular depth cues (retinal disparity gives depth)

- Developmental aspects (frequent errors 3-4, few errors 5-6, rapid improvement 7-11, mature 12)

Visual-motor Coordination

- Object tracking & interception (coincidence-anticipation)

- Developmental aspects (rapid improvement 3-7, slow improvement, 7-9, mature 11- 12)

Modifying Object Interception Activities

Modify equipment (size, weight, color, texture)

Modify rules (for perceptual clarity & consistency)

Modify expectations (for level of development)


The Perceptual-motor Process

Sensory input (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic sensory receptors)

Sensory integration (organizing incoming data with stored data - memory)

Motor interpretation (making internal motor decisions based on both present & past data

Movement activitation (executing the movement)


The Perceptual-motor Components

Body awareness (improves body schema, body image)

-Knowledge of the body parts

-Knowledge of what they can do

-Knowledge of how to make them do it

Spatial awareness (moving from egocentric space to external space)

-Subjective localization

-Objective localization

Directional Awareness (gives dimension to objects in space)

-laterality (internal)

-directionality (external) example: d-b or p-q

Temporal Awareness (an internal time structure)


-rhythm - most important


Perceptual-motor Training (Table 13.4)

Readiness training: Concept development (Head Start)

Readiness training: Concept reinforcement (academic preschools)

Remedial training (for at-risk children)

Soft sign assessment (table 13.5)

Concluding Concept

Although There Is Insufficient Evidence to Support the Role of Perceptual-motor Training Programs in the Remediation of Learning Disabilities, There Are Other Valid Reasons for These Programs