Outcomes for students receiving school-based physical therapy as measured by the school function assessment

Susan K. Effgen, Sarah Westcott McCoy, Lisa A. Chiarello, Lynn M. Jeffries, Catherine Starnes, Heather M. Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe School Function Assessment (SFA) outcomes after 6 months of school-based physical therapy and the effects of age and gross motor function on outcomes. Methods: Within 28 states, 109 physical therapists and 296 of their students with disabilities, ages 5 to 12 years, participated. After training, therapists completed 10 SFA scales on students near the beginning and end of the school year. Results: Criterion scores for many students remained stable (46%-59%) or improved (37%-51%) with the most students improving in Participation and Maintaining/Changing Positions. Students aged 5 to 7 years showed greater change than 8- to 12-year-olds on 5 scales. Students with higher gross motor function (Gross Motor Function Classification System levels I vs IV/V and II/III vs IV/V) showed greater change on 9 scales. Conclusions: Positive SFA change was recorded in students receiving school-based physical therapy; however, the SFA is less sensitive for older students and those with lower functional movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. and Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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