Recap: last time we talked about the power of performance analysis, today let's talk about performance skills
What are Performance skills?
Performance skills are goal-directed actions that a person enacts when performing a task. It sounds so simple. But us occupational therapists seem to want to add more to this simple definition. Yet focusing on performance skills is what makes occupational therapy’s contribution so unique and powerful.
Evaluating Performance Skills
When Tania makes soup, we observe her gripping the pot and lifting the spoon, adjusting the temperature of the stove, stirring soup with enough force (calibrates), etc. Grips, lifts, adjusts, calibrates are four examples of performance skills that we observe during ADL task performances. There are 36 skills total, separated in to motor skills and process skills. There are also 27 social interaction skills.
We can use our observations to summarize the strengths and problems Tania demonstrated when making soup. By keeping our evaluation focused on the performance skills observed, we are implementing a performance analysis. We are also sitting in the occupational therapy pocket. We are the only profession that evaluates at this level.
- Grips: Soup pot slipped from grip and fell onto stove
- Lifts: Increased physical effort lifting soup pan
- Calibrates: Stirs the soup with too much force resulting in soup splashing onto stove.
Adjusts: Repeatedly adjusts stove burner
We then can summarize all of our performance skill observations into a summary statement. If we want to get standardized results, then we can use the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) which is a standardized performance analysis
What performance skills are not
Sure, we can begin interpreting the reasons why Tania had the problems that she did. If you really need more information. But the factors that underlie or impact Tania’s performance of each performance skill (i.e., grip strength, cognition, standing balance, small pot handles, slippery floor) are NOT performance skills.
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