Graduation Date

4-2016

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, Ed.D., OTR/L

First Reader

Julia Wilbarger, Ph.D., OTR/L

Second Reader

Susan Schwartz, M.P.A., OTR/L, FAOTA

Abstract

Background and purpose. Executive function (EF) skills are necessary to set a strong foundation for play development, school readiness and social participation in young children. However, few ecologically valid assessments are available to detect potential executive function deficits in preschool aged children. The Preschool Kitchen Task Assessment (PKTA) is a new tool that measures EF in preschool aged children. The PKTA was adapted from the Kitchen Task Assessment and The Children Task Assessment by Christine Berg, Ph.D., OTR/L. This study aimed to validate the PKTA as an ecological assessment of EF in preschool aged children.

Subjects. Twenty-four typically developing children ages three to five and their parents from three preschools in Marin County.

Methods. An exploratory research design was utilized to examine the ecological validity of the PKTA. Scores from the PKTA were compared to three established neuropsychological assessments using Pearson’s r correlation.

Results. Weak and non-significant correlations were found between the PKTA and the three established neuropsychological assessments: The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function – Preschool Version Parent Form (BRIEF-P), Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS), Forward Digit & Backward Digit Span (FDS & BDS). A strong negative significant relationship was found between the participant’s age in months and their total score on the PKTA.

Discussion and conclusion. The findings do not support the validity of the PKTA as an assessment tool for EF in preschool aged children. The PKTA may be a useful ecologically valid assessment of developmental milestones in preschoolers.

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