PEDI-CAT, PEDI assessment, Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory, occupational therapy assessments

PEDI-CAT or the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) was initially created as a paper and pencil assessment in 1992 and was used to assess a child’s functional performance during a daily routine. Updated versions of the assessment are now only administered as a computer-administered test called the PEDI-CAT (PEDI-Computer Adapted Test). The PEDI-CAT still measures abilities in domains of social, cognitive, responsibility, daily activities, and mobility skills to assess a child’s overall functional ability. This article will discuss what this PEDI-CAT test measures, whom you can use it for, and why it is still a reliable assessment for occupational therapists today. 

What is the PEDI-CAT?

The PEDI-CAT assesses what the child CAN do in their daily routine, focusing on activity or occupation versus measuring impairment and allowing the therapist to assess the client’s current participation levels in their daily routine. The PEDI-CAT can be administered to clients from birth to 20 years of age and incorporates environmental and personal domains to measure skills in a natural context. 

The PEDI-CAT incorporates the original caregiver’s assistance section from the PEDI by using technology by automatically filter items tailored to the individual responses to avoid irrelevant or repetitive questions. 

The PEDI-CAT also includes a validated module for children and adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) utilizing additional directions to help clients select the best rating and adjusted scaling for the social/cognitive domain to respect behaviors commonly demonstrated by youth with Autism. 

PEDI-CAT scores can also determine eligibility for disability-related services as it is a norm-referenced assessment and can be used to document progress following the intervention.

Administering the PEDI/PEDI-CAT Assessment

As of January 1, 2023, Pearson became the only distributor of the PEDI-CAT, using their Q Global technology, allowing for online and remote administration, with questions completed by the child’s caregiver(s) or the therapist/clinician. Administration includes remote and on-screen administration options, exclusively with Pearson, Q-Global technology. 

There are two versions to select from:
  • The speedy version: Provides an efficient score result with 10-15 items per each domain. 

  • The content-balanced version. Includes 30 items per domain and will offer more detail to elaborate on skills for each category. 

Gather background data prior to administration by information review at referral, completion of an occupational profile, and observational assessments. Interview techniques such as active listening, client-centered questions, teach-back and strength-based questions will set an engaging tone for your session to build rapport. 

Client-centered questions include asking what the child’s interests are so you can incorporate them into your session to keep therapy interesting for your client.


The higher the scores indicate a higher level of functional ability. Scores are displayed instantly, as scores are calculated automatically with the Q Global technology upon completion of the assessment. 

T scores are calculated based on a child’s chronological age and used to interpret the child’s functional skill level compared to others of similar age within one-year intervals.

For visuals, item maps are also available to include a visual representation of scoring results to help explain results to other team members or caregivers. The skill domains rated on a four-point scale, “1” being unable or can’t do to “4”, that the child can complete with no help or additional time needed. 

An option of “I don’t know” is available that removes the item from the assessment scoring.

Using PEDI-CAT results for treatment planning

The score report generated after the assessment provides measurable data and ideas for the therapist to create their treatment plan with appropriate interventions and goals for improvement in daily participation. Although test items may change and evolve with patient progress, the overall score report provides the current functional ability level associated with the score measurement and is used to monitor progress over time.  

Therapists can use the results from this assessment to create a client-centered plan to focus on increasing client engagement in daily activities. Parental interviews, and an occupational profile in addition to the PEDI-CAT will assist in defining strengths and areas for improvement considering the client and their caregiver(s) priorities.

Collaborating with caregivers and other professionals 

Often in pediatrics, therapists treat the entire family/caregiver(s) as children need assistance to complete their daily routines. A client-centered treatment plan involves the therapist working with the family and caregiver(s) to nourish client engagement as the treatment plan progresses. 

PEDI-CAT score reports added to an assessment assist the therapist in planning appropriate interventions and creating goals for the plan of care. Sharing results with the child’s care team, including other healthcare professionals, educators, therapists, and physicians to share your findings at evaluation and show progress during reevaluation to clearly define occupational therapy’s role in helping improve a child’s overall functional ability.

Strategies for collaborating effectively with other professionals include: 
  • Having a common purpose, respect, and willingness for collaboration. 

  • Reaching out to your team members and professionals to share information from your assessments and thoughts on how occupational therapy will contribute to the overall long-term goals of the client. 

  • Commitment and willingness to address the limitations stated in the treatment plan to help you keep an open mind to receive input from other professionals you will need to consider when crafting your interventions.

  • Creating opportunities for different groups to meet virtually or in person if you feel extensive collaboration will achieve the best outcomes for your client. Improving team communication enhances their clinical outcomes, so if you are more than likely to benefit by ensuring coordinated care for the child and supporting optimal outcomes for the entire team.

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How valid is the PEDI-CAT?

Overall, The PEDI-CAT is an effective tool for assisting professionals with measuring functional abilities and establishing goals for their clients. The PEDI-CAT also allows therapists in various settings to create effective goals and monitor progress made toward functional abilities over time with the scores provided by the PEDI-CAT. With an emphasis on engagement in daily activities, and convenient scoring, this assessment makes a great assessment for occupational therapists to use.


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Occupational therapy assessments, occupational therapy assessments for adults, OT assessment
Occupational therapy assessments

This blog entry will cover adult occupational therapy assessments including: The COPM, Berg Balance Scale, MoCA, the Kettle Test, Nine-hole peg test, ACLS, FIM and AMPS.The practice setting and context of occupational therapy for adults varies widely. From geriatrics to physical disabilities, and acute rehabilitation to mental health, client needs, occupational profile, goals, and length of stay will vary greatly. As will the occupational therapy assessments you select. Some settings will call for a very complex evaluation with multiple assessments, while others may only allow for a 15 minute informal screen. Below are selected assessment tools that can be used with a diverse range of clients.

pediatric occupational therapy assessments, occupational therapy assessments
Pediatric occupational therapy assessments

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