School-age children with motor coordination challenges typically require formal referral for occupational therapy services and often experience lengthy wait times for one-to-one intervention. In a new service delivery model called Partnering for Change, therapists work collaboratively with educators in classrooms to observe, identify, and support children. This study describes children identified through a traditional referral process and compares them with children identified by occupational therapists through classroom observation and dynamic performance analysis.
Participants included 246 children enrolled in a 2-year evaluative study of the Partnering for Change service delivery. Parents completed a demographic questionnaire, the Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Children’s educators completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and the School Function Assessment. Children completed the Movement Assessment Battery for Children.
Children identified were significantly younger and more likely to be girls than those referred under the traditional model. Using observation and dynamic performance analysis, occupational therapists identified children who had equally marked difficulties as those who came from the waitlist. In the Partnering for Change model, waitlists for service were eliminated for all children.
Occupational therapists can identify children who are experiencing significant challenges participating at school without the need for standardized assessment, formal referrals, and waitlists.