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Pediatric Outcomes Toolbox: Measures for Alternative Forms of Mobility

presented by Robin Dole, PT, DPT, EdD, PCS

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Children who use some type of device to support their mobility skills use a means of mobility that is considered different than their typically developed peers. Such ambulatory or mobility devices may include orthoses, walkers, canes, crutches, manual wheelchairs and various forms of powered mobility. Children who require the use of alternative forms of mobility automatically fall in a category of mobility impairment despite how functional they may be with their devices. Many traditional tests and measures put these children at a disadvantage when trying to use such measures to determine a child's change in performance over time. Pediatric Outcomes Toolbox: Measures for Alternative Forms of Mobility will discuss strategies to address this measurement challenge and provide examples of tests and measures that by design afford children the ability to use whatever form of mobility works best, or could be adapted to minimize the disadvantage experienced by those needing alternative forms of mobility. This course will also illustrate best practices in the measurement of motor and functional skills for children using alternative forms of mobility through case examples.

Meet Your Instructor

Robin Dole, PT, DPT, EdD, PCS

Robin L. Dole, PT, DPT, EdD, PCS, is a professor of physical therapy and prior director of the Institute for Physical Therapy at Widener University. She currently serves as dean of the School of Human Service Professions at Widener. Dr. Dole has been involved in pediatric practice for nearly 30 years, and as an academician…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. The Challenge of Traditional Developmental Activity, Motor Skill, and Functional Assessments

Many commonly used pediatric tests and measures used to gather data about activity performance, motor skill acquisition, and functional skill ability are based on the typical age-related progression of motor skills. Many norm-referenced tests that provide helpful information for identifying children with motoric challenges are developmentally referenced. In identifying children who are unable to move around typically – which requires standing and balancing and walking and climbing – these tests and measures meet the requirement of identifying difference but may not be the best measures of the child’s actual ability or activity when afforded compensations for their mobility challenge. This chapter will discuss these challenges and introduce strategies that may be helpful in addressing them.

2. Alternative Forms of Mobility and the Impact on Measures to Assess Ability and Detect Change

Alternative forms of mobility can provide compensation for impairments in body systems and function, may decrease limitations in activity, and lessen the impact of some participation restrictions. For children who require alternative forms of mobility, becoming skilled at using alternative devices is an important intervention focus. It is also worthwhile to measure baseline performance and identify changes over time that result from intervention and practice. It is also important to measure mobility skill performance with and without the use of assistive or adaptive devices to document any improved performance that is afforded by the device. This chapter will provide information and support for tests and measures that address both of these important purposes.

3. Review of Test and Measures to Capture Alternative Mobility Ability

This chapter provides an overview of common tests and measures that may be useful or could be adapted for use with alternative mobility. Tests will be differentiated to show examples that are parent/caregiver report and those that are performance-based. The use of authentic assessments and guidelines for when adapting a test or measure may be warranted will be discussed. Psychometric properties for each test, where available, will be discussed with an emphasis on reliability, validity, and responsiveness to change.

4. Clinical Case Examples: Selection, Administration, Interpretation, Sharing Results

This final chapter will use two to three case examples to illustrate the process of selecting appropriate tests and measures of motor and functional skills that may be helpful in assessing children that use alternative forms of mobility. Tips for administration, interpretation, and sharing the results with others will be discussed.

5. Q&A Session

This Q&A session includes a pediatric physical therapist and discusses children who use alternative means for mobility.

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