Pediatric occupational therapy assessments

pediatric occupational therapy assessments, occupational therapy assessments

Pediatric occupational therapy assessments including the SPM, BOT-2, PDMS-2, DAYC-2, Beery VMI, TVPS-4, and SFA will be covered in this post.

Selecting a Pediatric Therapy Measure

There are several choices when it comes to selecting pediatric occupational therapy assessment or evaluation tool. Standardized and norm-referenced tools are highly recommended both for validity and objectivity. All of the below assessments are both standardized and norm-referenced. When you select a measure for an individual client you will want to consider: Areas of concern; the chronological age of the client; the environmental context; perceived abilities based on caregiver or teacher interviews; and whether the evaluation will occur in person or through a teletherapy approach. For a quick and handy reference, seven pediatric therapy assessments have been described below.

Sensory Processing Measure (SPM)

The Sensory Processing Measure is an instrument that provides a picture of sensory processing as related to an individual child (ages 5-12). A preschool form (SPM-P) is also available for children ages 2-5. The SPM kit comes with two forms: A school form and a home form. Both forms are questionnaires that are designed to be filled out by an adult that frequently observes the child. A parent/caregiver often fills out the home form and a teacher provides information on the school form. The occupational therapist can select either form or they can have both completed in order to analyze differences in sensory processing between home and school. Both versions of the SPM consider visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular processing as well as considerations on how sensory processing impacts the child’s social participation and motor planning.

Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency- Second Edition (BOT-2)


This assessment, appropriate for ages 4-21 years, measures gross and fine motor skills. It is used in both school and clinical settings. Occupational therapists often use four of the eight subtests: Fine motor control, manual dexterity, strength and agility, and body coordination. Tasks include copying increasingly complex shapes, cutting, timed activities with small manipulatives, dribbling a tennis ball, and more. These four subtests take 45-60+ minutes to complete. If you are screening a client, there is a “Short Form” that uses select tasks from each categories to get a picture of fine motor performance. The BOT-2 is commonly used in both school and outpatient settings.

Peabody Developmental Motor Scales- Second Edition (PDMS-2)

An early intervention staple, the PDMS-2 measures fine and gross motor skills in children from birth to age five. Subtests include reflexes, stationary movement (body control), locomotion, object manipulation, grasping, and visual-motor integration. This pediatric occupational therapy assessment is unique in that it can provide insight on even the youngest of clients. The reflex subtest is designed exclusively for infants up to 11 months. The grasp subtest contains tasks such as holding a rattle, picking up a block, and holding a writing utensil. The visual-motor integration subtest contains tasks such as hand-eye coordination, copying shapes, and copying 3D patterns with blocks. It is important to note that this is a basal-ceiling evaluation. Therefore you will only ask your client to do tasks that are developmentally relevant.

Developmental Assessment of Young Children- Second Edition (DAYC-2)

The DAYC-2 is another pediatric occupational therapy assessment that is popular in early intervention and is valid for ages birth to six. The DAYC-2 is sometimes delivered as a team assessment and an occupational therapist may deliver this assessment alongside a special educator, speech and language pathologist and/or a physical therapist. Alternatively, individual professions may focus on one or two relevant domains. There are five domains: Cognition, communication, social-emotional development, physical development and adaptive behavior. The DAYC-2 does not come with a bag of standardized materials and manipulatives for testing but instead recommends materials from the child’s natural environment. This makes the DAYC-2 a great tool for telehealth evaluations. Simply prepare the caregivers or the in-person provider with a list of criteria for toys to have nearby (for example a board book, and knob puzzles).

Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration- Sixth Edition (Beery VMI)

The Beery VMI addresses performance areas of visual-motor integration skills. It is used in both school and clinical settings. The client is asked to draw increasingly complex shapes, starting with a simple line and advancing to shapes with a variety of intersecting lines and angles. Administration is quick and only requires the test form and a writing utensil. The administrator’s manual contains visual examples which helps make scoring quick and easy. While there is both a short form (for younger ones) and a full form available, the test is norm referenced for ages 2-100. By mailing out the response booklet ahead of time, there is also flexibility to deliver the Beery VMI via a teletherapy evaluation.

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Test of Visual-Perceptual Skills- Third Edition (TVPS-4)


The TVPS-4 provides a wealth of information about a child’s visual perception skills. Appropriate for ages 5-21 years, the TVPS-4 analyzes skills related to visual discrimination, visual memory, spatial relationships, form constancy, sequential memory, visual figure-ground, and visual closure. The student is provided with a black and white test plate with one ‘visual task’ per page. Depending on the perceptual area, the student may be asked to find a matching image, select an image from a previously shown stimulus, or to match an image that is incomplete. The test takes about 25-35 minutes to complete. Some younger students may benefit from a break accommodation during this test. The TVPS-4 is easy to score and the results can be helpful for intervention and goal planning.

School Function Assessment (SFA)

This assessment is designed to evaluate a student’s performance as related to participation in school. The SFA is in the format of a questionnaire that is provided to the student’s classroom teacher. The teacher then records answers based on their observations of the student. This gives the occupational therapist a picture of how much support the student needs, and their classroom participation and performance. Goals can easily be designed to support a student in their school setting and involvement of a classroom teacher sets a tone for collaboration. The SFA is designed for students in kindergarten to sixth grade.

What is your go-to pediatric occupational therapy assessment? Comment below to share!

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