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Functional Assessment

The comprehensive functional assessment evaluates your child's performance within both the school and home settings. It examines fine motor skills encompassing tasks like dressing, writing, and manipulating objects, as well as gross motor skills such as running, balancing, and performing gymnastic movements. Additionally, visual perception skills, including hand-eye coordination and figure-ground discrimination, are assessed. Based on the findings of this assessment, the therapist creates an individualised treatment plan tailored to address any identified challenges.

Where and how is the Functional assessment completed?

The Functional assessment can be conducted in various settings, including the clinic, home, or school environment. During the assessment, your child engages in a series of interactive games and activities with the therapist. Through keen observation and analysis, the therapist identifies any potential difficulties your child may encounter. For instance, challenges in catching an object may prompt the therapist to explore underlying factors such as poor hand-eye coordination, visual perception skills, ability to judge the trajectory and speed of the object (temporal skills), or inadequate motor control of the arms and hands.

What issues warrant a Functional assessment?

Consider consulting with an occupational therapist if your child experiences any of the following challenges:
 

  • Difficulty catching or throwing a ball

  • Struggles with physical education activities

  • Displays uncoordinated running movements

  • Exhibits clumsiness

  • Demonstrates poor handwriting

  • Encounters trouble with dressing tasks

  • Struggles with fastening zips or buttons

  • Finds it challenging to maintain balance

  • Faces difficulty manipulating objects or using both hands effectively
     

The occupational therapist utilizes the Functional assessment to evaluate how these challenges affect your child's performance at home and school. If you notice that your child struggles with tasks that others find easy, seeking an Occupational Therapy assessment may be beneficial.

Conditions Assessed by the Functional Assessment

 

The functional assessment is employed by occupational therapists to evaluate children with the following conditions:
 

  • Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

  • Dyspraxia

  • Dysphagia

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Acquired brain injury

  • Stroke

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • Rett syndrome

  • Spina Bifida
     

The Functional Assessment is also applicable to children without diagnosed conditions, serving as a valuable outcome measure. An outcome measure is a tool utilized to gauge changes in function over time, typically administered at the initiation and conclusion of therapy to illustrate improvements achieved.

What does the Functional Assessment entail?

 

The occupational therapist utilizes the Functional Assessment to gain comprehensive insights into how functional difficulties impact your child's daily life, encompassing both school and home environments. This involves a thorough practical assessment and detailed discussion, aimed at enhancing understanding and guiding the development of an appropriate treatment plan.


Impact on School Environment: The Functional Assessment not only identifies functional challenges but also assesses how these difficulties affect your child's performance in both academic and social settings at school and home. For instance, difficulties in fine motor skills observed during the assessment may manifest as delays in getting changed for physical education or challenges in participating in construction-based play activities with peers.


Impact on Home Environment: Consideration is also given to the impact on the home environment. For example, challenges experienced at school may contribute to feelings of unhappiness or frustration upon returning home, potentially affecting family dynamics and relationships among siblings and parents.

What will I learn after a Functional Assessment?

 

After the assessment, the occupational therapist will review the assessment findings with you, providing a comprehensive explanation of the identified difficulties and their underlying reasons. Should you wish, you can request a detailed Functional report based on the assessment results. This report includes an in-depth analysis of how the condition affects your daily life, along with a customized treatment plan and recommendations aimed at enhancing your overall functioning and quality of life.

Post-Functional Assessment Interventions

 

After a functional assessment, the occupational therapist offers various forms of assistance and interventions, including:
 

  • Participation in gross motor groups

  • Engagement in movement-based activities

  • One-on-one sessions tailored to individual needs

  • Participation in fine motor games such as Jenga and building blocks

  • Enrollment in handwriting improvement programs

  • Practice sessions for dressing skills

  • Participation in play therapy sessions

In summary, the Functional Assessment aims to pinpoint any physical or cognitive challenges that hinder optimal function, considering their impact both at school and at home. By thoroughly assessing these factors, the assessment lays the groundwork for your personalized treatment plan.
 

If you're interested in scheduling a Functional Assessment or require further information, please don't hesitate to reach out.

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