The IMTAP continued

Posted: August 13, 2010 in Assessment

In an effort to further document my experience with the IMTAP as I use the tool for the first time, here is an account of my experience with the assessment portion.

After the intake, I went through and identified domains that needed assessment. This process helps me decide what I’m going to look for during the assessment. The mother has been helpful in this regard, stating that she wants to work on expressive communication. I selected several other domains to focus on based on information from the intake – fine motor, social,receptive communication, sensory, and musicality. As I mentioned before, musicality should always be assessed. We are music therapists, after all.

The difficulty with planning an assessment session is always going to be coming up with tasks that will effectively test the areas you need to look at.  A couple of case studies are included in the book, which are helpful in a sense because they give you an idea of how to structure things.  However, since everyone is different, you have to rely on your own creativity.  My assessment session largely involved exploration of instruments, singing, and improvisation.

Now that the assessment is done, I’m going through the process of reviewing the session and scoring the results. Each domain is divided into subdomains – fine motor, for example, is divided into fundamentals, strumming, autoharp/Q Chord, guitar/dulcimer, piano, and pitched percussive/mallet.  Receptive communication is divided into fundamentals, direction following, musical changes, singing/vocalizing, and rhythm.

Each subdomain is further divided into four specific skills.  The fundamentals for the fine motor domain are displaying the use of both hands; using palmar grasp; using pincer grasp; holding object/instrument independently with one hand; holding object/instrument independently with two hands; established left/right hand dominance; forming shapes with fingers and/or isolating fingers during finger play activities; playing instruments with alternating hands; sustaining palmar grasp with dominant and non-dominant hands; and organization of alternating hands while playing.

For each specific skill, the therapist rates the consumer on a scale of N to C.  N is never, R is rarely (under 50% of the time), I is inconsistent (50-79%), and C is consistent (80%+).  Now, since these letters don’t necessarily mean anything to any, the IMTAP is organized into a quantifiable model, with each letter having a point value.  As more developmentally advanced skills come up, point values get higher, though N is always 0.  There are four levels of developmental skills.  The ability to read musical notation is considered to be a level four skill, while matching three colors is a level two skill.  A score of consistent for reading bass clef notation is worth 6 points, while consistently matching three colors is worth 4.

Once you have your numbers for a subdomain, add them up and divide by the maximum score.  The resulting percentage will tell you whether or not this is an area that needs work.

I’m in the process of crunching the numbers at the moment, and I’ll update after I’ve used the assessment to develop the treatment plan.  Thanks for reading!


EDIT: A small correction – never is NOT always zero.  Sometimes consistent is zero.  For example, in the vocal idiosyncracies subdomain of the expressive communication domain, every single skill gives a zero for consistent (inflectional babble/jargon, echolalia, unconscious vocalizations, delayed vocalizations, clipped vocalizations or vocalizations of an irregular meter, and scripted vocalizations).

  1. Steve Hickle says:

    Hey, Jesse!

    This is pretty cool – I mean WAY cool ! Kind of a slow morning, so I took some time to read through all the entries. I like your writing style, and you are showing a lot of polish, especially attuned (!) to your field. I’m trying to get all subscribed, we’ll see how that works – Mom and you know how electronically challenged I am.

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