Short course

Introduction to the application of the Structured Observational Test of Function

Discover the development and uses of the Structured Observational Test of Function

The Structured Observational Test of Function (SOTOF; Laver and Powell, 1995) is a standardised valid, reliable and clinically useful occupational therapy assessment used to observe older people’s performance of activities of daily living and identify underlying neurological deficits. Following an updated review of dynamic assessment literature, the 2nd edition (Laver-Fawcett and Marrison, 2016) added a formalised dynamic assessment component that applies a six-level graduated mediation protocol. The Structured Observational Test of Function (SOTOF) is an observational assessment of performance of four personal activities of daily living and considers underlying perceptual, cognitive, sensory and motor function.

  • Location – York campus or can be delivered for organisations offsite
  • Duration – One-day study day
  • Facilitators - Alison Laver-Fawcett, Associate Professor and Research Lead

Course Fees

    £95 For self-funded individuals

    Health Education England funding available Funding criteria

Course information

By attending this course you will

Be introduced to the Structured Observational Test of Function (SOTOF) assessment, it development and uses. They will have the opportunity to role play the administration and scoring of SOTOF so they will learn how to give the assessment, score the test and consider the use of information obtained. They will have time to consider and discuss the application of the SOTOF for their practice, service evaluation and / or research.

The SOTOF comprises a standardised phase followed by a guided diagnostic reasoning, dynamic assessment phase. The SOTOF provides a profile of the person’s skills and deficits. It can be used to signpost the need for further assessment and help inform goal setting and intervention planning. If the person is unable to successfully complete a SOTOF item then the therapist is guided to use a diagnostic reasoning process and graduated mediation protocol to form hypotheses regarding the underlying cause of dysfunction and the most effective strategies to maximise the person’s functional performance. The SOTOF instruction cards provide examples of mediation methods (prompts / cues/ modifications / assistance) for each SOTOF test item.

This course is designed for:

  • EG – Band 6 OT working in the Community with Children and Young People.
  • Occupational therapists (clinicians, managers, educators, researchers ) working with older people with possible neurological deficits (e.g. clients with stroke, head injury, dementia, Parkinson’s disease).
  • Occupational therapists working with older people with neurological conditions in any of the following settings: hospitals, day hospitals, nursing homes, residential homes, community services, and day services.

What difference will it make to my attendees?

Attendees with learn about a new assessment and will learn to administer and score the Structured Observational Test of Function (SOTOF).

Benefits to the employee

Following the CPD day each participant will receive an electronic copy of the SOTOF (2nd ed) test manual, instruction cards and forms so they will be able to use the SOTOF in their practice. The test provides a comprehensive standardised and dynamic assessment for personal activities of daily living and underlying perceptual, cognitive, motor and sensory function. It can be used to signpost the need for further assessment and help inform occupational therapists’ goal setting and intervention planning.

Benefits to the employer

The use of a standardised assessment, underpinned by an evidence base into their service. 

Course leader biographies

Dr Alison Laver-Fawcett is an Associate Professor and Research Lead for the School of Health Sciences. She qualified as an occupational therapist in 1986 and has a PhD in Psychology. She developed the Structured Observational Test of Function (SOTOF) during her PhD studies (Laver and Powell, 1995). Alison has delivered workshops/presentations on the SOTOF in the UK, Norway, Belgium, USA, Canada, Australia and New-Zealand. . The 2nd edition of the SOTOF has been developed over the past 2 years and Alison is leading current research exploring the clinical utility and psychometric properties of the new version. 

She has been a clinician, researcher, educator and professional lead in the UK, USA and Canada. Alison was an NHS modernisation manager leading service evaluation and improvement for Older Peoples’ Mental Health Services for 8 years. Alison is author of ‘Principles of Assessment and Outcome Measurement for Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists: Theory, Skills and Application’ (2007).

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