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Pediatr Phys Ther. 2016 winter;28(4):371-8. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000279.

Outcomes for Students Receiving School-Based Physical Therapy as Measured by the School Function Assessment.

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences (Dr Effgen), University of Kentucky, Lexington; Department of Rehabilitation Medicine (Dr Westcott McCoy), University of Washington, Seattle; Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences (Dr Chiarello), Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Department of Rehabilitation Sciences (Dr Jeffries), University of Oklahoma Health Sciences, Oklahoma City; Department of Biostatistics (Ms Starnes and Dr Bush), College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington.



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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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