The Motor System

A Mind at a Time, by Mel Levine (2002), page 175

In his book Dr. Levine outlines five forms of motor function dominate work and play and comprise the major components of the motor system.
  1. Gross Motor - functions involves the activity of large muscles, making possible all the action needed to serve a tennis ball, engage in a strenuous workout, pedal a bicycle, or toss a ball.
  2. Fine Motor - Small muscles, principally those in our hands and fingers, manual dexterity.  The nearly synonymous term "eye hand coordination" the purposeful movement of our fingers need visual supervision (using our eyes and hand).  Examples of fine motor activites: connecting dots puzzles, buttoning  buttons, cooking, buiding with blocks, using siccors, etc.
  3. Graphomotor (writing) - function is highly specialized motor output used in writing.  Letter formation requires rapid assignment and activation of finger muscles and complicated sequential flow that drives written output. 
  4. Oromotor (speaking) - function used muscular activity to generate speech. 
  5. Musical Motor - output is one of the more obscure brain operations.  A wide range of muscular responses and sensory inputs.

He gives examples of students who have superb fine motor abilities (i.e. they can draw beautifully, build things, etc.) and have unacceptable (writing) graphmotor functions.  He points out that students with (speech) oromotor function can experience diffcults with (writing) graphomotor functions.

Here is a diagram from his book showing the five systems:
The Motor system chart

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Last updated November 15, 2004
By Melody Orfei