How the GOAL Measures Functional Abilities for Kids

Kids need to develop fundamental motor skills for much of their daily living. These motor skills include fine and gross motor skills and enable children to do a wide range of tasks from picking up a spoon to bouncing a ball.

The Goal-Oriented Assessment of Lifeskills (GOAL) measures a child’s ability to perform the motor skills needed in their daily life now and in the future. It features a modern approach to the ways in which occupational therapy might assess an individual.

The sensory theory put forth by Dr. A. Jean Ayres describes most of the key concepts of the GOAL. This theory states that children who have compromised sensory processing will struggle to learn, regulate motor responses, or function at the expected level.

These difficulties in young children may grow to inhibit older children or adults from being able to process higher-level integrative functions like planning and organizing movement as well as social participation.

The GOAL incorporates concepts from a wide range of other studies and assessments for a more comprehensive approach to measuring the motor skills of a child. These other studies and assessments include the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, Disability and Health, and the International Classification of Functioning.

The GOAL is designed for children between 7 to 17 years of age. It consists of seven different activity sets. These dynamic functional tasks are markers of significant activities in a child’s daily life.

The assessment engages and motivates children in a fun way, and produces more accurate readings because of the way the children enjoy interacting with each activity. The activities are also standardized to provide psychometrically precise measures of challenges and strengths.

One of the most unique facets of the GOAL is that it truly is goal-oriented. These activities present a focus on meaningful and tangible goals for the children while also assessing their functional abilities and foundational motor skills.

The set of scores provided by the GOAL represent motor components that a child needs to participate at home, school, and in a variety of community settings. The scoring system uses three elements to measure functional success: accuracy, speed, and independence.

Standard Scores for gross motor and fine motor domains are separate, allowing for same-age and same-gender normative comparisons. The Standard Scores can establish eligibility for placement in special programs such as occupational therapy and education.

The GOAL also yields Progress Scores that identify opportunities for a child’s improvement. This score uses the Rasch measurement techniques to measure performance and is also useful for measuring changes over time after intervention using occupational therapy.

Nomenclature of the GOAL reflects the conditions of the code put forth by the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning (ICF) for health-related conditions. The ICF focuses on a child’s capacity to participate in daily activities while minimizing the importance of any disease-related barriers to participation.

The GOAL is an interactive and enjoyable assessment for children who need to have their functional abilities measured and who may be resistant to other, more rigid forms of testing. It can be used to assess areas in which the child might need occupational therapy intervention and helps to identify areas of opportunity.

To learn more about the GOAL and other occupational therapy & sensory processing assessments, visit WPS.

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