Without properly developing fine and gross motor skills, children can’t learn to do even everyday tasks. These motor functions enable children to do tasks as basic as eating or walking.
The Goal-Oriented Assessment of Lifeskills (GOAL) measures these motor skills in children ages 7 to 17 in order to identify areas in which they need improvement or have significant opportunity to improve with occupational therapy intervention.
The GOAL uses seven activities to measure motor function in goal-oriented ways that make the assessment interesting and engaging for administrators and participants.
The utensils activity asks the examinee to use a knife and a fork to cut Play-Doh into pieces. It also measures their ability to use the knife and fork to spear pieces of the Play-Doh onto a paper towel. They must also use a spoon to sip water and scoop it from one cup to another.
The locks activity measures the examinee’s ability to open a combination padlock and a keyed padlock.
The paper box activity requires the examinee to color drawings with crayons. They must also make a paper box by cutting out patterns with scissors and then folding and taping the pattern to make a box.
The notebook activity requires the examinee to open and close a three-ring binder. They must also organize a series of sheets and dividers by color and then insert them into the binder when finished.
The clothes activity measures the examinee’s ability to put on and take off oversized T-shirts and shorts without removing their own clothing.
The ball play activity measures the examinee’s ability to dribble a tennis ball, bounce a ball from hand to hand, bounce a ball from hand to floor to wall while catching it at the end, and kick the ball against a wall and retrieve it.
The tray carry activity requires the examinee to carry a “cafeteria tray” (clipboard) while balancing two full cups of water on it around a small obstacle course while sitting, standing, and kicking obstacles aside.
The activities in the GOAL were standardized using a sample of 616 children from all four geographic regions of the United States. The clinical validation sample consisted of 152 of these children being sent to occupational therapy for their mild-to-moderate sensory and/or motor challenges.
Internal consistency scores were more than 0.75 across all age ranges and the reliability coefficients were more than 0.84 in the clinical sample. Test-retest correlations were 0.76 for the Fine Motor Standard Score and 0.77 for the Gross Motor Standard Score.
Principles of Use
The design of these seven activities is meant to facilitate the effective assessment and treatment of sensory and motor difficulties that prohibit functional and goal-oriented behavior. The GOAL can be used to determine eligibility for special services.
It can inform the planning of occupational and physical therapy intervention and adaptive physical education. The activities in the GOAL can be used in schools, clinics, hospitals, and private practices.
Many different types of practitioners can use the goal, but must be trained and supervised in practical experience and the use of psychometric tests.