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Physical Therapists' Use and Alteration of Standardized Assessments of Motor Function in Children

Fay, Deanne, PT, DPT, PhD; Brock, Elizabeth, PT, DPT; Peneton, Samantha, PT, DPT; Simon, Rebecca, PT, DPT; Splan, Madison, PT, DPT; Sullivan, Laura, DPT; Weiler, Alyce, PT, DPT

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000532
RESEARCH REPORTS

Purpose: This study presents survey responses of pediatric physical therapists' use and alteration of standardized assessments of motor function in children aged 2 to 10 years.

Methods: Electronic and paper surveys were distributed to practicing physical therapists through the APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy electronic newsletter and 2 national conferences. Data were analyzed by response frequencies, qualitative responses, and χ2analyses for demographic characteristics.

Results: A total of 497 pediatric physical therapists responded. Most (93%) reported using standardized assessments, with the majority (84%) reporting the normative scores. Almost all respondents (94%) also reported that they at least occasionally modify assessments.

Conclusion: Standardized assessments are used by most therapists, but the high use of modifications during testing is concerning. Survey reports from therapists indicate a disconnect between standardized assessments and the needs of the child, leaving clinicians working to report required scores while maintaining validity of testing procedures.

This study presents survey responses of pediatric physical therapists' use and alteration of standardized assessments of motor function in children aged 2-10 years.

A.T. Still University (Dr Fay), Mesa, Arizona; Mercy Gilbert Medical Center (Dr Brock), Gilbert, Arizona; Honor Health Thompson Peak Medical center (Dr Peneton), Scottsdale, Arizona; Mercy Hospital–Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute (Dr Simon), Coon Rapids, Minnesota; Mountain Land Physical Therapy (Dr Splan), Murray, Utah; Emblem Healthcare (Dr Sullivan), Phoenix, Arizona; Kent Intermediate School District (Dr Weiler), Grand Rapids Michigan.

Correspondence: Deanne Fay, PT, DPT, PhD, A.T. Still University, 5850 E Still Circle, Mesa, AZ 85206 (dfay@atsu.edu).

Grant Support: This study was supported through research funds from the Division of Research, Grants, and Information Systems of A.T. Still University.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.pedpt.com).

At the time this research was completed, Elizabeth Brock, Samantha Peneton, Rebecca Simon, Madison Splan, Laura Sullivan, and Alyce Weiler were all students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at A.T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association