Term of Art: Soft Neurological Signs

“soft neurological signs: Any of a number of minor abnormalities that emerge in childhood and are used as diagnostic indicators of minimal brain damage.

Soft signs are subtle and difficult to detect reliably; they tend to run their developmental course with no clear cause and are not regarded as indicators of any specific neurological disease. The soft in the term comes from the difficulties of interpretation and the uncertain association with structural brain damage.

Certain soft signs, like those related to fine and gross motor sills, may be used to help diagnose learning disabilities. Neuropsychological evaluations and psychological evaluations for learning disabilities typically include soft signs assessments such as the ability to walk a straight line, the ability to tell left from right, and the ability to track objects horizontally and vertically.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

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