Where Is the Focus on the Psychomotor Domain?

By Kamps, Paulene | National Association of School Psychologists. Communique, June 2010 | Go to article overview

Where Is the Focus on the Psychomotor Domain?


Kamps, Paulene, National Association of School Psychologists. Communique


I read with great interest the article on Advocacy ("Capitol Hill Recognizes National School Psychology Week and the Work of School Psychologists," COMMUNIQUÉ, February 2010) in which three individuals spoke on behalf of NASP when presenting at Capitol Hill in November 2009. Based on the transcripts provided, the presentations were well done and fully in line with current practices of school psychology. However, again it seems that North American school psychologists are missing the target on an enormous domain of functioning. Infact,it seemslike they don't even know that there is another target!

Why is it that there is no focus on the psychomotor domain in our work? There is plenty of international research showing significant psychological implications when students have problems with motor learning. This ongoing omission seems completely contrary to comments made by our NASP leaders, the foundations of practice, and NASP guidelines. Kathleen Minke's transcript states that, "Meeting the needs of the whole child (emphasis added) is critical to bringing out the best in schools and students." I could not agree more. She further adds, "Positive school climate, family partnerships, and student wellness (emphasis added) clearly support ongoing academic achievement." Terry Molony also seems to miss the importance of physical health in her descriptions: "Helping children to develop selfefficacy, however, allows them to become realistic about their skills and talents. It often involves children actively setting goals for themselves and developing academic, cognitive, social, and emotional competencies." There is no mention of one's physical and/or motor abilities.

The need to address motor learning and functioning fits squarely into NASP's domain: "Prevention, Crisis Intervention, and Mental Health." Specifically, on page 16 in the Standards for Training and Field Placement Programs in School Psychology it states: "School psychologists have knowledge of human development and psychopathology and of associated biological, cultural, and social influences on human behavior ... [and they] provide or contribute to prevention and intervention programs that promote the mental and physical well-being of students" (emphasis added). Unfortunately, at the present time, school psychologists seldom focus on the gross motor abilities, physical health, and/ or the bodily well-being of a student.

The relationship between motor skill proficiency and psychosocial health is fully recognized by the APA and WHO in their manuals; the DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 identify students who have motor learning problems via the terms "developmental coordination disorder" (DCD) and "specific disorder of motor functioning. …

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