This article describes the approach to testing that guided the recent revision of the Test of Motor Impairment (TOMI). Traditional attempts to measure intrinsic ability lent themselves to the labeling of children as defective. A test score should be regarded rather as a record of available capabilities. Performance depends on the abilities a child brings into play; the use of abilities and the development of skills depend in turn on motivational-emotional factors. Moreover, a composite score does not provide information about the reasons for failure. These considerations led to the compilation of qualitative diagnostic aids. The first directs the tester’s attention to the nature of a child’s failure of motor control, the second to behavioral sources of poor performance. The third checklist is a task-by-task, process-oriented analysis of motor faults designed for clinical diagnosis and professional training. In providing a detailed picture of a child’s performance, the TOMI bridges the gap between assessment and therapy and provides instrumentation for systematic, measurable therapy.
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