Ayres Sensory Integration describes PRAXIS as the process necessary during initial learning (functionally involved in learning tasks such as shoe tying, printing, cursive writing, keyboarding). Ayres described praxis as involving 3 components, any or all of which are difficult for children with praxis problems termed “dyspraxia”. Taking as an example building with playdoh, consider the 3 components of praxis. First, IDEATION-the idea that you want to accomplish (e.g., I want to build a snowman).
Second, MOTOR PLANNING-the plan of sequential steps to be accomplished e.g., drawing or describing the plan to 1)Make a large ball and place it on the bottom for a foundation, a medium ball placed on top of that, then a small ball on the very top for the head. 2)Make 3 tiny balls and place them vertically on the center ball for buttons then 3)On the top ball head place two tiny balls horizontally on top for eyes, another tiny ball centered below the eyes for a nose, then several tiny balls in a concave circle below the nose for a mouth.
The third component of praxis is actual EXECUTION of the actions involved in the task. If a child easily describes what he wants to make out of playdoh he has good IDEATION. If he accurately plans by drawing or describing the steps in sequence he has good MOTOR PLANNING. If he actually builds the snow man physically with fluid movements he has good EXECUTION.
Assessing the functional appropriateness of the individual IDEATION, MOTOR PLANNING, and EXECUTION components of a specific praxis task identifies for each component whether it is a strength or weakness that needs to be addressed. To improve praxis we can use the PRAXIS COMIC FAB STRATEGY to facilitate and support the praxis process. Later, ongoing review of the PRAXIS COMIC helps the child gradually internalize the praxis task through repetition.
The PRAXIS COMIC FAB Strategy helps children by having them draw and caption a comic depicting the praxis process for a particular task. It promotes behavior and independence in children with dyspraxia, particularly during group activities. We facilitate the steps of praxis by IDEATION of what we want to do, then MOTOR PLANNING sequentially the steps involved, and finally EXECUTION through drawing, describing and doing the steps involved.
Below is a praxis comic created by a small PBS group depicting the praxis process for every group session. The praxis comic has four parts: 1) move the chairs to clear a space in the class room for their group e.g., specifically involving slow linear movement combined with deep pressure heavy work to facilitate self-regulation. 2)Throw the ball underhand 3)Sit e.g., during which the group constructs feeling wheels or coping cards given the environmental structure of a seated position and 4)Play frisbee ending the group e.g., then move the chairs back now the group is over. By completing the praxis comic and reviewing it before and after each group, the children facilitated their own praxis process, enhancing their internalized organization and self-control.