In reference to functional skills, grading refers to the adjustment of muscle force used for different activities.

Grading is often automatic, like when you correctly choose the amount of force needed to lift up a feather versus a large rock. Grading is important for ADLs like eating; we have to adjust how quickly we bring the fork to our mouths or could hurt ourselves! Issues with grading force can be subtle, like pushing too hard when coloring causing the crayons to always break. Consider reaching out to our occupational therapists if you have questions or concerns!

In reference to therapeutic activities, grading refers to adjusting the difficulty of a given task based on client outcomes.

If a child quickly succeeds at a task, it can be graded more difficult to challenge the child’s skills. Alternatively, if a child cannot complete a task at all, the provider can adjust the task to facilitate success and prevent frustration and avoidance. This relates to the “Just Right” Challenge tactic.

A frustrated child in a blue polo shirt has their hands on their face while they stare at a broken pencil which may have been the result of poor grading of force.
This child may have used too much force when trying to write their name which resulted in the pencil breaking which can be very frustrating, especially when it happens often.
An occupational therapist points to a yellow block where a child can place the red building block they have.
An occupational therapist points to where a child can place the red building block they have. This visual cue assists the child in being successful in stacking the block.

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