The Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA) 2018

Date: 5 – 7 March 2018

Venue: Burfoot Court, Guy’s Hospital, London SE1 9RT

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This event runs adjacent with The Hand Assessment for Infants (HAI) course, taking place on 8 – 9 March 2018 at Burfoot Court. For more information follow this link >>

Programme overview

The Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA) is now a well-established and frequently used evaluative tool to measure how effectively children with unilateral hand dysfunction actually use their involved hand collaboratively with their well-functioning hand to perform bimanual tasks. For the child the AHA is an enjoyable 10 to 15 minute semi-structured play session using a test-kit of selected toys requiring bimanual use. The AHA is then scored from structured video recordings of the observable performance skills during this play. The AHA measurement contains twenty items scored on a four-point rating scale. The outcome is an evaluative interval level measure, which together with the individual child’s response profile, can guide intervention. AHA is a standardized test intended for children with unilateral Cerebral Palsy or Brachial Plexus Palsy between the ages of 18 months and 12 years. A teenage- and adult version is currently being developed.

Validity and reliability of the AHA scores are well documented in several studies. The AHA has been widely used to evaluate various upper limb interventions including constraint-induced movement therapy (e.g. Eliasson et al 2011, Sakzewski et al., 2011, Aarts et al., 2011), bimanual therapy (Gordon et al., 2011), Botulinum toxin-A (Hoare et al., 2010, 2012), hand surgery (Ponten et al., 2011), splinting (Louwers et al., 2011) and allowed the exploration of longitudinal development of bimanual hand function in children with unilateral cerebral palsy (Holmefur et al. 2010). Please visit www.ahanetwork.se for more information.

The course teaches the Assisting Hand Assessment, the new version 5.0 and is conducted in two steps. First, a 2½-day training course is given including information about the test construct, testing procedure and scoring practice on a range of children from videos. A manual with detailed scoring criteria and a computer based scoring form is provided. Secondly, and to achieve certification, participants should complete six additional cases and get satisfactory results. Four of these are from videos provided on a web based e-learning platform, and two are delegates’ own self-produced AHA play sessions. Individual feedback of these cases is provided. The AHA test kit for children between 18 months and 12 years with specific toys, and/or the new board game for teenagers can be ordered from Handfast Inc, at the course or later during the certification procedure at a cost of approximately $520 and/or $180 respectively (dependent of the current currency, exact price will be given when course dates are set) + shipping costs. 

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the set up, conduct and video record an Assisting Hand Assessment session and produce reliable scores according to the criteria in the manual
  • Verbalise the concept and construct of the test and its psychometric properties
  • Interpret and communicate the outcome of the test

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