Evaluating occupational performance
using the assessment of motor and process skills
The Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) (Fisher, 2003), is an
innovative assessment of occupational performance that is utilised widely by
occupational therapists in Australia and throughout the world. Its focus is on
evaluating the individual’s ability to perform the daily life tasks he or she needs
and/or wants to perform. Thus, providing the occupational therapist with critical
information about their unique perspective on function, occupation (Fisher, 1994).
The AMPS enables therapists to measure the quality of a person’s performance
of the domestic (instrumental) or personal activities of daily living (ADL) that are
meaningful and/or relevant to them.
The Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model, provides a framework for
integrating occupation based assessment and intervention into everyday practice
(Fisher, 1998). Once information is gathered to establish the context of the
client’s occupational performance and their current strengths and problem areas,
the AMPS can be utilised to assess their occupational performance.
The assessment is administered according to standardised procedures and
usually takes between 30 and 40 minutes to complete. The therapist interviews
the client to ascertain which of the 83 AMPS tasks may be of an appropriate
challenge, as well as being familiar and culturally relevant to them. The client
then chooses two or three tasks that they want and/or need to perform. Following
familiarisation with the environment and confirmation that all tools and materials
needed are available, the therapist observes the client perform the chosen tasks
in their natural setting. The therapist evaluates the quality, efficiency, safety and
independence of the actions, namely motor skills and process skills, that
comprise and support ADL performance. The ADL motor and ADL process skill
items represent universal, goal-directed actions that are observed during ADL
task performances. Motor skills refers to the observable goal-directed actions the
person enacts to move oneself or a task object during task performance (e.g.
position the body, reach for, lift and transport objects). Process skills refers to
the observable goal directed actions the person enacts to logically sequence the
actions of the ADL task performance over time, select and use appropriate tools
and materials, and adapt his or her performance when problems are encountered
(e.g. search for and locate tools and materials, organise the workspace,
initiate and sequence actions, accommodate actions when problems occur)
The AMPS computer-scoring program generates summary reports of the client’s
performance, as well as an ADL motor and ADL process ability measure. The
measurement model used to develop the AMPS allows this ability measure to be
adjusted to account for rater severity, the challenge of the specific tasks the client
performed, as well as the individual clients scores (Fisher, 1993). This
information can be utilised to determine why the person is experiencing
difficulties, what level of task challenge the person can manage, the type of
intervention/s to use and whether ADL performance has improved as a result of intervention.
The AMPS has been researched extensively, the findings indicating excellent reliability and validity, including validity for use with males and females aged between 3 and 90 years of age, across numerous cultures and diagnostic groups (e.g. Dickerson & Fisher, 1997; Duran & Fisher, 1996; Goldman & Fisher, 1997; Goto, Fisher, & Mayberry, 1996). In addition it has been utilised widely to examine differences in ADL performance within and between diagnostic groups (e.g. Bernspang & Fisher, 1995; Cooke, Fisher, Mayberry, & Oakley, 2000; Doble, Fisk, Fisher, Ritvo, & Murray, 1994; Pan & Fisher, 1994)
Therapists who use the AMPS have completed a five day training course. AMPS courses are held regularly in Australia. The next course in NSW is scheduled for March 2004. Further details will be published in upcoming newsletters. Alternatively contact OT Australia (NSW).
In addition Anne Fisher will be in Australia in August/September this year. She will be offering more comprehensive training courses on the Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model. Please contact OT Australia (Vic) or (SA) for details.
For further information and a full AMPS reference list see the AMPS website:www.ampsintl.com
On behalf of the AMPS Project, Australia.
Bernspang, B., & Fisher, A. (1995). Differences between persons with right
or left CVA on the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills. Archives
of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 76(1144-1151). Cooke, K., Fisher, A. G., Mayberry, W., & Oakley, F. (2000). Differences in
activities of daily living process skills of persons with and without
Alzheimer's Disease. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 20,
Dickerson, A., & Fisher, A. (1997). The effects of familiarity of task and
choice on the functional performance of young and old adults.
Psychology and Aging, 12, 247-254.
Doble, S. E., Fisk, J. D., Fisher, A. G., Ritvo, P. G., & Murray, T. J. (1994).
Functional competence of community-dwelling persons with multiple
sclerosis using the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills.
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 75, 843-851. Duran, L., & Fisher, A. (1996). Male and female performance on the
Assessment of Motor and Process Skills. Archives of Physical
Medicine and Rehabilitation, 77, 1019-1024.
Fisher, A. (1993). The Assessment of IADL motor skills: An application of
Many-Faceted Rasch Analysis. American Journal of Occupational
Therapy, 47(4), 319-329.
Fisher, A. (1994). Functional assessment and occupation: Critical issues
for occupational therapy. New Zealand Journal of Occupational
Therapy, 45(2), 13-18.
Fisher, A. (2003). Assessment of Motor and Process Skills. Development,
Standardization, and Administration Manual. (5th ed. Vol. 1).
Colorado: Three Star Press Inc.
Fisher, A. G. (1998). Uniting Practice and Theory in an Occupational
Framework. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 52(7), 509-
Goldman, S., & Fisher, A. (1997). Cross-cultural validation of the
Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS). British Journal of
Occupational Therapy, 60(2), 77-85.
Goto, S., Fisher, A., & Mayberry, W. (1996). Amps applied cross-culturally to
the Japanese. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60(2), 119-
Pan, A. W., & Fisher, A. G. (1994). The Assessment of Motor and Process
Skills of persons with psychiatric disorders. American Journal of
Occupational Therapy, 48, 775-780.