Focus on attention, emotion regulation and sensory modulation

 Many children with movement difficulties also have difficulties with attention, emotional and behavior regulation, as well as sensory modulation issues. 

These difficulties are often associated with a very cautions/fearful temperament, or may have anxiety related conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, panic attacks or phobias. 

The child may have a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder (SPD), ADD or ADHD. 

Understanding the impact of these different difficulties and conditions on a child's learning of motor skills,  as well as behavior allows parents to make sense of their child's behavior and function. 

About 15-20 percent of children are born with a temperament style that is very cautious and often quite fearful.  Elaine Aron coined the phase “highly sensitive child” for these children describing them as being very aware and quick to react to everything.  

Understanding the impact of behavioral inhibition  and anxiety is particularly important as they often co-occur with developmental conditions including developmental coordination disorder,  generalized joint hypermobility, autistic spectrum disorders and ADHD.

A more technical article wih a full reference list and bibliography. 

Many children with movement difficulties also behavior, emotion regulation and attention difficulties which impact on their function and participation at home and at school. These children often have a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder and receive sensory integration therapy. 


Training ball skills leads to improved visual attention and working memory, as well as the ability to evaluate own performance, a skill needed for motor learning.