Task Analyses Identify Coat-Donning Delays in Preschoolers in Special Education

Kaplan, Sandra L. PT, PhD; O'Connell, Melanie D. MSPT

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e318209429c
Research Article

Purpose: To describe use of task analyses for school-based documentation of skill levels of a sample of preschool children in special education classes.

Method: Coat-donning task analyses and scoring codes were developed for the traditional and coat- flip methods. Preschool children's abilities were scored 3 times per year as part of weekly classroom consultations. Of 601 charts from 2003 to 2007, 171 met inclusion criteria.

Results: Initially, 22 (13%) children independently donned coats; 149 (87%) required assistance. Final scores identified that 75 (44%) children achieved or regained independence, 14 (8%) still required assistance prior to kindergarten entrance, 50 (29%) were eligible for more services, and 32 (19%) had services interrupted.

Conclusion: Task analyses and scoring codes improved efficiency and standardization of school-based documentation, demonstrated incremental changes over time, and focused task training. The majority of preschool children in this sample were initially delayed in coat-donning independence when compared with preschool children developing typically.

In this study, the authors used task analysis to identify components of two methods of coat donning. They report improved efficiency and ability to document changes over time and more focused task training as a result of using coding developed through the task analysis.

Programs in Physical Therapy, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey.

Correspondence: Sandra L. Kaplan, PT, PhD, Programs in Physical Therapy, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 65 Bergen St, SSB-718C, Newark, NJ 07101 ().

Grant Support: Funding for this study was partially provided by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Foundation Summer Research Intern Program and the Newark Therapy Services—University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Physical Therapy Faculty Practice.

Melanie D. O'Connell was a student in the PhD in Health Sciences Program at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and a School of Health Related Professions Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences when this study was completed.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.