Practical Implementation of the Goal Attainment Scaling

Sunday, November 11
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Ballroom H/I - Convention Center

Developed in the 1960's, goal attainment scaling (GAS) provides a method to objectively measure individual skills and behaviors when standardized testing may not fully inform. Having the ability to objectively score goals for children with disabilities promotes family satisfaction and motivation, supports rehabilitation outcomes and accountability, provides evidence to satisfy payers, and allows for assessment of overall program effectiveness. Goals written in the GAS method objectively measure 1 aspect of the goal, such as how many, assistance level, distance, or duration. The chosen goal aspect is assigned a value across a 5-point scale from -2 to +2. The -2 value represents regression from current level of performance, -1 equals current performance level, 0 indicates expected level of performance, and +2 denotes a much greater level of performance than expected. These raw scores (-2 to +2) can then be converted into z and T-scores individually or collectively and thus, goal attainment scaling can evaluate the effectiveness of an individual goal, group of goals and overall program effectiveness. The purpose of this instructional session will be to provide pediatric physical therapists an overview the GAS and instruction in creating, storing, scoring, and interpreting goals using traditional methods and smart phone applications.

Learning Objectives:

Cindy B. Dodds, PT, PhD, PCS

Assistant Professor

Cindy Dodds is an assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina with over 25 years of clinical experience treating children with disabilities and is especially interested in children with severe and complex disabilities. She is an author and principle investigator of the Pediatric Sensory Modality Assessment and Rehabilitation Technique (SMART) and a 2015 Gold Foundation Humanism Scholar. Her national and international presentations have addressed children with severe and complex disability.


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Erin Gaffney, PT, DPT

TIRR Memorial Hermann Residency Program

With a desire to make Goal Attainment Scaling more accessible, Erin Gaffney, DPT, PT created a vision for the GOALed app. She collaborated with Kevin Gaffney, a computer science major at the University of Oklahoma, to make this app a reality. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2017. Following graduation she pursued a neurologic physical therapy residency at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas. Dr. Gaffney's future plans include completing the process to become a Neurologic Physical Therapy Specialist and continuing work with Goal Attainment Scaling and the GOALed app.


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Lori Bartleson, PT, DPT

Lead Physical Therapist
Dorchester 2 County School District

Lori Bartleson, PT, DPT, is the lead PT for Dorchester School District Two with 24 years of experience. She received her PT degree from MUSC in 1995 and her tDPT from A.T. Still University in 2012. She served six years as the APPT's South Carolina representative and is currently the chair of the Adolescents and Adults with Developmental Disabilities SIG. She has presented at the South Carolina APTA annual conference. She co-presented at CSM 2017 and was a co-author of a poster presentation at APPTAC 2017. Lori also provides the school-based content to the DPT program at MUSC.


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Practical Implementation of the Goal Attainment Scaling

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