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Functional, educationally-relevant therapy outcomes for children with disabilities

1995 - 1999

Investigators & Staff

  • G King
  • M.A. Tucker
  • P Alambets
  • A Ogilivie
  • J Gritzan
  • T Malloy-Miller
  • K Husted
  • S O'Grady
  • M Brine

Funding Agency

  • Richard & Jean Ivey Fund - $35,000 (1995-1996)
  • Thames Valley Children's Centre Research Award - $35,000 (1995-1996)
  • CanChild (then Neurodevelopmental Clinical Research Unit) - $10,000 (1997-1999)
  • Thames Valley Children's Centre Research Award - $5,000 (1997-1999)

Summary

This was a feasibility study that examined the effects of speech-language, occupational and physical therapy services on children with physical or communication needs in the regular school setting. The study was conducted in preparation for a full program evaluation study. Goal Attainment Scaling and outcome measures of articulation, productivity, mobility, as well as parent and teacher satisfaction were found to be appropriate for use in evaluating the effects of these school services.

The study involved collaborative goal setting between therapists, parents, and teachers of 16 children with three types of special needs: articulation difficulties, developmental coordination disorder, or cerebral palsy. The children received an average of 13 therapy sessions over a four-to five-month
period during the 1996 school year.

It examined:

  • the utility of goal attainment scaling for evaluating therapy services in the school
    setting,
  • the utility of several standardized measures in capturing change in children's functional status (the Arizona Articulation Proficiency Scale, the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales - Classroom Edition, and the School Function Assessment),
  • the utility of two satisfaction questionnaires in assessing parent and teacher satisfaction with the services, and
  • issues related to teachers', parents', and therapists' participation

The majority of children in this study showed expected or greater than expected improvement on functional goals, as measured by goal attainment scaling. Since greater than expected improvement may indicate biases in the goal attainment scaling procedure, several changes to the goal setting and rating procedures will be incorporated into the full program evaluation study. Two of the three standardized measures (the Arizona Articulation Proficiency Scale and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales - Classroom Edition) captured clinically meaningful change in children's functional status. Both satisfaction questionnaires indicated a high degree of parent and teacher satisfaction with the School Health Support Services Program, as delivered by a regional children's rehabilitation centre. Finally, therapists, parents, and teachers indicated that the procedures were acceptable to them, indicating that a full scale program evaluation study should run smoothly.

To read more on this topic, please refer to any or all of the following:

  • In Brief: "Do children with special needs benefit from receiving functional, school-based therapy services?"
  • King, G., McDougall, J., Tucker, M.A., Gritzan, J., Malloy-Miller, T., Alambets, P., Cunning, D., Thomas, K., & Gregory, K. (1999). An evaluation of functional, school-based therapy services for children with special needs. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 19(2), 5-29.
  • McDougall, J., King, G., Grizan, J., Malloy-Miller, T., Evans, J., & Tucker, M.A. (1999). A checklist to determine the methods of intervention used in school-based therapy: Development and poilot testing. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 19 (2), 53-77.
  • King, G., McDougall, J., Palisano, R., Gritzan, J., & Tucker, M.A. (1999). Goal attainment scaling: Its use in evaluating pediatric therapy programs. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 19(2), 31-52.
  • King, G., Tucker, M., Alambets, P., Gritzan, J., McDougall, J., Ogilvie, A., Husted, K., O'Grady, S., Brine, M., & Malloy Miller, T. (1998). The evaluation of functional, school-based therapy services for children with special needs: A feasibility study. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 18(2), 1-27.