Visiting the Movement Science Laboratory

The Movement Science Laboratory at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children records a child’s ability to move by testing strength and measuring range of motion in the ankles, knees and hips.

Patients evaluated at the Movement Science Lab are referred by their TSRHC doctor. Analysis in the Movement Science Lab usually involves one or more of the following:

  • Videotaping the way a child walks
  • Measuring muscle strength and how much a child’s limbs bend
  • Measuring dynamic joint motion during movements, which involves reflective markers attached to a child while cameras capture the movements of the markers
  • Recording muscle signals (EMG) to determine muscle activity
  • Walking across a plate embedded in the floor that records pressures under the foot
  • Tracking energy expenditure by measuring how much oxygen is consumed during ambulation
  • Determining your child’s movement difficulties and goals

Measuring Movement

To measure a child’s movement, the staff at the Movement Science Lab uses the same technology used to make video games. They attach multiple small markers on the child’s feet, legs, waist and sometimes shoulders, arms and head. Cameras around the room record the movement of the markers as the child walks, and the computer creates a dot-do-dot drawing and a stick figure that moves just like the child.

At the end of testing, staff members invite the kids to do a fun move, such as a touchdown pass, karate chop or dance move, so they can see themselves on the computer.

Preparing for Your Visit

Although the procedure does not hurt, it may seem a little intimidating for a child. To help your child relax, explain in advance that the staff at the Movement Science Lab will be making a video of the way the child’s body moves. To help the staff see arm and leg movement, the child should wear tight shorts and a tank top or swimsuit during the visit to the lab.

Make a plan for during and after the procedure. Giving your child something to look forward to, such as playing in the park or stopping by the hospital’s popcorn stand, may encourage participation. The staff at the Movement Science Lab will have ideas about how to make the procedure more fun. Allowing your child to bring a favorite toy can make the visit more comfortable and give the staff a way to incorporate your child’s interests into the procedure.

Please be sure to bring all walking aids that your child uses, such as braces, walker or crutches, to the Movement Science Laboratory.

For more information about visiting the Movement Science Lab, please call 214-559-7580 or 800-421-1121, ext. 7580.