Activity Analysis

What is activity Analysis?

Activity Analysis is the process of breaking down an activity into steps and detailed subparts and examining its components. With each activity being evaluated carefully to determine its therapeutic potential (Creek 2003 cited in Creek and Bullock 2008).

Any activity can be broken down into performance components to analyse the performance skills required as a means of understanding the client’s ability to complete the task or identify areas where the activity can be adapted (Mosey 1986 cited in Creek and Bullock 2008).

Reason’s for Activity Analysis

To understand activities and occupations to determine their demands, therapeutic potential, skills required to do them and their particular meaning. The thought process contributes to clinical reasoning during interventions and evaluation. With the therapist skill and expertise in analysing activities is critical in setting realistic treatment goals (Hagedorn 2001 cited in Creek and Bullock 2008).

Why Analyse Activity

It provides the therapist with an understanding of what is needed in order to perform the activity, in order to instruct others to complete the activity, and also deciphers equipment, materials, cost, time and staff required to perform the activity.

It will also provide knowledge to judge when, where, for whom and under what circumstances the use of the activity would be therapeutic. This will therefore give justification for using the activity with clients by detailing the therapeutic benefits of activity by the analysis. (Fidler and Fidler 1963 cited in Creek and Bullock 2008).

Basic Analysis

Physical demands, types of movement – Fine, gross, repetitive.

Clients with Multiple Sclerosis can experience poor co-ordination, ataxia, spasticity and tremors, so the therapist can assess their gross motor skills by observing how they manage to move safely around the kitchen and complete several complex tasks at once such as bending and reaching.

Their fine motor skills would need to be considered when analysing how they manage to do tasks such as opening packets of food, preparing vegetables and stirring the food in the sauce pan with a spoon.

Sensory/ perceptual, visual, tactile, proprioceptive

Multiple Sclerosis can cause a client to experience blurred or double vision, involuntary eye movements know as Nystagmus, and pain.  Their sensory input may also be affected by Paraesthesia, numbness and tingling and pain. Therefore, the therapist would assess how these symptoms may affect they abilities whilst cooking by observing how well they can pick out objects within a surrounding area such as a kitchen worktop.  This is known as figure ground perception. Also assessing their ability to grip and hold items such as a knife or a saucepan may enable the therapist to consider how well their proprioceptive skills may be affected.

Cognitive, concentration, intellectual ability, abstract thought

In order to be able to prepare a meal, the client will need to be able to plan, organise and sequence the task as well as be able to make allowances and changes for any problems they may encounter. For a client with Multiple Sclerosis, they may have difficulty with memory and concentration and the affects of fatigue can greatly affect their ability to cope with any mental activities.  Therefore the therapist would be looking to assess these components, identify any difficulties and work with the client to find strategies to cope. They would also be looking to identify the client’s level of arousal, their orientation to the activity, their attention span, recognition of what needs to be completed, and the ability to start and finish the activity.

Emotional, is it stimulating or motivational

In order for intervention to be successful, the therapist needs to identify what motivates the client as attempting to use an activity for therapeutic purposes that does not have any significant meaning to them may affect a successful outcome (Turner 2005). The therapist would therefore ensure client centred practices by talking and listening to the client to identify what is important to them.

Social, behaviour, expected co-operation

By talking and working with the client, the therapist will be able to identify what roles are meaningful to the client through the use of the MOHO, what their interpersonal skills are like and how they feel most comfortable expressing themselves.  Cooking is a very personal thing as everyone prepares their food very differently.  The therapist will need to be mindful of the way the client usually completes the activity in order to maintain the purpose and meaning to them (Turner 2005).

Cultural, specific to age, gender, ethnicity, cultural group, or class (Creek 2003 cited in Creek and Bullock 2008).

The cultural expectations and experiences are what shape our identity (Evans and Rodgers 2008), so it is important that the therapist identifies these important factors through the use of the MOHO.  Cooking was chosen as it was specific to the age of our clients and is an activity that plays an integral part in the way the family roles and routines are developed.

Other Considerations

– Performance skills (cognitive, motor, etc)                 – Complexity

– Space needed                                                         – Equipment needed

– Materials required                                                   – Time

– Anticipated Cost                                                      – Skill level required

– Is adaptive skills possible                                         – Is it gradable

– Safety considerations

Factors that Influence Performance

Culture –                 Beliefs, patterns, behaviour standards, social expectations.

Environment –         (Physical) Terrain, buildings, furniture, objects, tools.

Social –                  Significant others

Personal –              Age, gender, socioeconomic status, education.

Spiritual –               Inspirations, motivations

Temporal –             Stage of life, time of day, time of year, duration.

Activity Demands

Objects –                          (tools, materials, equipment)

Space demands –              (large open space?)

Social demands –              (expectations of others)

Sequencing and timing –    (particular order)

Required actions –           (for example, gripping a knife)

Required body functions – (mobility of joints)

Required body structures – (for example, number of hands)

(Creek 2003 cited in Creek and Bullock 2008)

In depth Analysis – Performance Skills

Motor (Skills in moving and interacting with tasks, objects and environment)

– Posture,                         – Mobility,

– Coordination,                  – Energy required to perform,

– Strength and effort,         – Process (Skills required to manage and modify actions),

– knowledge,                     – Organising space and objects

Communication and Interaction

(Skills in communication needs and coordinating of social behaviour)

Information exchange,


Physicality (eye contact, gestures)

Body Functions

Mental Function (Affective, cognitive and perceptual)

Global mental functions,

Specific mental functions,

Sensory functions.

Neuromusculoskeletal and movement functions

Joint functions,

Muscle functions,

Movement functions (Creek, J. 1998 citied in Creek and Bullock 2008).

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