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14 Popular Pediatric Occupational Therapy Assessments

With so many options for pediatric occupational therapy assessments, it’s easy to get overwhelmed — or get stuck in a rut of limiting yourself to the ones you’re familiar with. In this post, we look at what you should know about popular assessments that you may want to incorporate into your current assessment mix.

1. Bayley Scales of Infant Development

The Bayley Scales of Infant Development assessment is used to identify developmental competencies of very young children, from one to 42 months of age. Its purpose is to identify deficits in children as early as possible so that intervention can begin quickly. It evaluates five major developmental areas, including language, motor, adaptive, cognitive, and social-emotional development.  

2. Beery-Buktenica Test

The Beery-Buktenica visual-motor integration test, also known as the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration, is used to screen visual-motor deficits. This test identifies problems with motor coordination, visual perception, and visual-motor integration, such as hand-eye coordination. It can diagnose cognitive development disorders for young children by analyzing visual construct skills and can be used for ages two and up.

3. Developmental Test of Visual Perception

The Developmental Test of Visual Perception is designed to assess the visual-motor integration skills and/or visual perception of children ages four to 12 years to identify visual perception deficiencies. It’s a standardized test that uses an updated representative American normative sample including psychometric properties. 

4. Evaluation Tool of Children’s Handwriting

The ETCH is a criterion-referenced tool used to evaluate script and cursive handwriting skills by looking at the speed of handwriting and legibility. It’s used for children in grades one through six and assesses things like pencil grasp, hand preference, pencil pressure, legibility components, manipulative skills with the writing tool, and classroom observations.

5. Hawaii Early Learning Profile

This assessment, also known as HELP, is used for children from birth to three to provide a visualization of a child’s progress. It can identify needs, track growth and development, and determine target objectives. It evaluates skills in six developmental categories including language, fine motor, gross motor, social, self-help, and cognitive. It provides a clear picture of a child’s development and progress and facilitates communication and collaboration with parents.

6. Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile

This assessment is a questionnaire completed by the infant or toddler’s primary caregiver to evaluate sensory processing patterns and abilities for children from birth to 36 months. It provides a standard method for measurement and with that, an understanding of how sensory processing affects the child’s daily functioning performance. Validated scores are provided with an interpretation of results and case studies.

7. Miller Assessment for Preschoolers

The Miller Assessment for Preschoolers, also known as MAP, evaluates the developmental status of preschoolers for mild-to-moderate developmental delays. Testing is done relative to three core areas, including cognitive abilities, sensory and motor abilities, and combined abilities. For those with severe developmental delays, the MAP can provide a developmental overview that clarifies strengths and weaknesses. 

8. Motor-Free Visual Perception Test

The MVPT is a standardized test that measures overall visual perception. This assessment tests for abilities like visual memory, visual discrimination, spatial relationships. What sets this assessment apart is that it’s designed to be largely independent of motor ability, so it’s particularly useful for those with motor disabilities. 

9. Peabody Developmental Motor Scale

The Peabody Developmental Motor Scale is a standardized assessment that measures the motor skills of children from birth to age five. It comprises six sections, including locomotion, grasping, object manipulation, reflexes, stationary, and visual-motor integration. It tests gross motor, fine motor, and total motor skills and compares to normative values. It can also be used to create developmentally-appropriate treatment goals.

10. PEDI Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory

PEDI assesses functional capabilities and performance, monitors progress in functional performance, and evaluates therapeutic or rehabilitative progress. It observes self-care, social function, and mobility to measure performance and capability. It’s used to determine functional skills where competence and mastery are demonstrated and to identify functional deficits and establish treatment plans.

11. School Functional Assessment 

This instrument is a judgment-based questionnaire that measures a student’s performance of functional tasks in a typical elementary-school program. It was designed to help students with disabilities succeed by identifying strengths and needs in non-academic functional tasks and to facilitate collaborative program planning. Evaluation is based on school personnel’s assessments on three scales: participation, activity performance, and task supports. 

12. Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests

The SIPT shows how children organize and respond to sensory input by measuring the sensory integration processes that leads to learning and behavior. It is used to pinpoint specific issues associated with emotional disorders, learning disabilities, and minimal brain dysfunction.

13. Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency

The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency is a nationally-standardized and individually-administered test that uses goal-directed activities to measure motor skills in children from ages four to 21 years. It’s made up of a subtest and composite structure that shows motor performance in strength, coordination, stability, mobility, and object manipulation. The measurements in these skill areas provide the information needed to assess the level of function and to use the findings to develop a plan of care.

14. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales

This assessment measures adaptive behaviors and supports the diagnosis of intellectual and developmental disabilities for all ages as well as developing treatment and educational plans. It assesses adaptive functioning on three domains, including daily living skills, socialization, and communication. 

Occupational Therapy Assessments Together Provide a Fuller Picture

Each pediatric occupational assessment has its own strengths and weaknesses. For this reason, it’s a good idea to use more than one assessment to see a fuller picture of a child’s abilities and needs. With a thorough understanding based on a combination of assessments, you can create a plan of treatment with confidence. 

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