July 2018
 “Can I use the COPM with children?”​
We often receive this question from pediatric occupational therapists. There is a substantial body of research evidence indicating that the COPM can be used successfully with children from the age of five. Sakzewski and colleagues suggest that the COPM was only one of two client-centred evaluations that was able to detect a clinically significant change in occupation related to therapy (Sakzewski, Boyd, & Ziviani, 2007). 

Children younger than eight years may have more difficulty with the self assessment required to complete the COPM, i.e., identifying where they are experiencing difficulties. The COPM can be used with family members and teachers for children when they are not able to complete the COPM themselves. The focus of the interview with the parents is on activities that their child is interested or trying to do but have difficulty performing. 
The COPM supports family-centred practice across multiple conditions and settings. When both the child and parents are interviewed using the COPM, collaborative goal setting between the child and parents is facilitated. The COPM also supports contemporary occupation-based practice models such as CO-OP, context-focused therapy and solution-focused coaching by keeping the child engaged from very beginning of therapy.  As an outcome measure the COPM is invaluable as a team intake tool in addition to measuring occupational-change in children and the effectiveness of service.

Sakzewski, L., Boyd, R., & Ziviani, J. (2007). Clinimetric properties of participation measures for 5- to 13- year-old children with cerebral palsy: A systematic review. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(3), 232-240.
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