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Occupational therapists (OTs) conduct evaluations to establish need for services, determine areas of strength, and define areas of need when working with pediatric clients with diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or intellectual disability (ID). Occupational therapy (OT) evaluation for clients with ASD and ID often focuses on performance of functional skills or skills foundational to the performance of functional tasks. The goal of OT evaluation is to gather specific and accurate data regarding client abilities to support goal setting, treatment planning, and progress monitoring. This capstone research project explored the utility of task-specific prompting protocols for impacting the useability, complexity, and clarity of data gathered during functional life skills evaluations for youth with ASD and/or ID. Three OTs engaged in making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a total of 11 clients and engaged in a survey-based outcome measure. The OTs later repeated this task with a provided prompting protocol, followed by engaging in a duplicate outcome measure. Data analysis indicated the use of a prompting protocol while completing this functional cooking task increased the useability, complexity, and clarity of the data gathered by evaluating therapists.


This Postprofessional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone Project was approved by the following:

  • Spurwink Services

  • University of Southern Maine Institutional Review Board