A test of motor abilities that you download from the website, with raw scores computed into standard deviation scores, and receive a color print-out of the results of each item, group, and total. Designed for occupational, physical and speech therapists who work with children.

  • age: children 5 years-0 months to 11 years 11 months.
  • normed: on 82 American children and 117 Dutch children, which statistically could be combined to N=199.
  • a video of 18 minutes to help learn the procedures and practice scoring.
  • five point scoring for each item for more precision.
  • items have been placed into 5 theoretical groupings based
  • on motor development and sensory integration theory:
    • tone/stability,
    • equilibrium and gravity responses,
    • rotation,
    • smooth movements,
    • motor planning
  • developed for pre- and post testing.

It is a tribute to Dr. Ayres and other therapists who have continued to use these items for so many years. Now we have been able to substantiate them statistically.

The Motor Observations are for your own professional use.




Over the years the term "sensory integration" has been used in many different ways: referring to a theory, to a diagnosis, to a remediation approach, to a normal functional pattern.

During the years that the Motor Observations Test was in development the taxonomy for Sensory Processing Disorders came to the forefront to clarify sensory integration terminology. A position paper appeared in the Summer 2004 SI Focus Magazine, as well as other locations. This was developed by the following professionals:

Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR

Sharon Cermak, Ed.D., OTR/L

Shelly Lane, Ph.D.,OTR/L

Marie Anzalone, Sc.D., OTR

Jane Koomar, Ph.D., OTR/L

The new nosology uses the term Sensory Processing Disorders as the basic name overall, which include the three primary diagnostic groups, with their subsets.


Sensory Processing Disorders

Sensory Modulation Disorder

Sensory Over Responsivity

Sensory Under Responsivity

Sensory Seeking/Craving

Sensory Discrimination Disorder

Sensory-Based Motor Disorder

Postural Disorders



What does the Motor Observations Test measure with the new terminology?

The Motor Observations Test has 36 items which can measure individual motor skills on a five point scale, statistically geared for a child’s exact age between 5 years 0 months to 11 years -11 months. But evaluation of individual skill items is not the most important part of what the Motor Observations Test provides for the therapists. It provides the therapists with the child’s strengths and weakness in the areas under Postural Disorders and Dyspraxia. The following theoretical groups are statistically sound in identifying the child’s standard deviations so that the therapist can use this information for diagnostics.

  • Tone/Ability
  • Equilibrium/Gravity
  • Rotation
  • Smooth Movements
  • Motor Planning

The other two areas (Sensory Modulation Disorder and Sensory Discrimination) are not specifically dealt with in the Motor Observations Test, but the theoretical concepts are expected to be within the therapists’ knowledge base. Therapists should be able to identify signs of these disorders when evaluating a child. We advise the therapist to jot down any clinical signs the child may exhibit in the course of the Test and return to these for additional testing to complete the full evaluation.

Lynn J. Horowitz, MHS, OT

This article was revised by LJH from the article published in SI Focus Magazine, Summer 2004