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OT Assessment Tools

Occupational Therapists (OTs) support people with physical limitations or injuries. They use treatments and exercises to develop or regain skills for daily living and work. Assessment tools are used early on and throughout occupational therapy to determine a client's condition and therapeutic needs. OTs use dozens of tools in their work, but three very common ones are the Fatique Severity Sale, Purdue Pegboard and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure tests.

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Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS)

The Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) is an assessment tool used by OTs to measure fatigue in clients with chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Lupus or chronic fatigue. This tool consists of a series of nine questions that address how fatigue impacts the client's daily life and activities. The FSS differentiates true fatigue from clinical depression, as they are often confused and share many symptoms.

Purdue Pegboard Dexterity Test

The Purdue Pegboard Dexterity Test is used to by OTs and by employers to assess the abilities of clients and potential industrial workers. This assessment tool determines a client's ability to perform basic tasks like assembly, packing and machine operation. It measures gross movement dexterity and fine movements. The Purdue Pegboard Dexterity Test includes performing short tasks with a small pegboard using each hand, then both hands.

Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM)

OTs use the COPM to track changes in a client's self-perception of his progress. The assessment tool consists of a short interview that includes several questions regarding the client's experience of his occupational abilities. The client's responses are scored along a standard scale and compared over time. This assessment tool is generally administered early in occupational therapy, then repeated later on to determine the course of treatment.

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About the Author

Ana Purna has covered outdoor adventure, travel, health and fitness for a variety of publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on the websites FeministReview and PaperDolls. Purna is a writer and radio producer in Texas who graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in history.

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