What is a Transdisciplinary Play Based Assessment?

A Transdisciplinary play-based assessment (TPBA) is a functional assessment process designed for children between the ages of birth to 6 years.
TPBA examines a child’s performance across all areas of development while he or she interacts with a play facilitator, parent(s), or caregiver(s). By following the child’s lead the facilitator keeps the child interested and motivated thus encouraging optimal levels of performance. As the facilitator helps the child make transitions among play materials, an observing Transdisciplinary team notes the child’s skills, behaviors and interaction styles. These observations lead to an assessment of the child across cognitive, social-emotional, communication, language and sensor motor domains.
( Linder, 1993)

What occurs during a Transdisciplinary Play Based Assessment?

Team Members:

Each team member plays an important role in the evaluation process:

  • Parents - provide background information and help make the child feel comfortable. Parents are also encouraged to engage in play with the child.
  • Service Coordinator - facilitates discussion surrounding the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
  • Play facilitator - builds a rapport with the child and facilitates both free play and structured play.
  • Recorder - a team member who records what the child is doing during the evaluation. The report is based on observation and parent report.



Components of the Evaluation

1. Free Play

  • The play facilitator follows the child's lead respecting the child's priorities and preferences for toys and play activities.
  • This builds trust and comfort between the child and the play facilitator.
  • This allows all evaluators to see the child's learning, style, play preference, and level of skill in all areas of development.


2. Structured Play:

  • Includes both seated play and motor play.
  • Allows the child to demonstrate his or her level of skill in the areas of language, thinking, fine motor, gross motor, and sensory.
  • Facilitator encourages the child to demonstrate higher level skills such as cause and effect of relationships, problem solving, and spatial relationships.

3. Snack

  • Allows for observation of oromotor control, social, and self-help skills associated with eating.

4. Summary

  • All team members discuss the child's strengths and areas of need.
  • Parents are encouraged to be a part of the summary process.
  • Determination of eligibility will be made at this time.
  • If the child is found eligible, the service coordinator will complete the IFSP process and services will be delivered within 14 working days.
  • Handouts and suggestions are provided to parents at each evaluation.
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