Thank you to Amy van Schoor for putting together this blog on creating your own assessment kit. 

What a wonderful adventure the EASI is and will continue to be.  One of the drawcards of the EASI is the ability to create your own assessment kit.  This got us thinking: what could you put in your assessment backpack when you are not doing a standardised assessment?  The important thing to remember is to always keep your assessments functional and ethical.

We could use these items when performing more informal assessments with children who do not have the capacity to complete a standardised Sensory Integration assessment, like a child who has more limited receptive language, or a younger child who does not fit assessment criteria.  Another opportunity for using these self-made assessment kits is when our clients do not have the financial means to pay for an assessment like the SIPT.

Below are some recommended pieces of equipment and ideas on how to use the to informally  assess various developmental skills.  Some items you may already have in your practice, others you may need to keep an eye out for, but most are easily accessible.

Equipment pieces:


These are useful for observing aspects of postural control, bilateral integration, and postural security.  Watch how a child approaches the stairs both when climbing up and down, look at the child’s body alignment whilst climbing, and if they can manage to carry objects up and down the stairs.


Large Therapy Ball/Half-Circle/Equilibrium Board/Roller/Barrel

These pieces of equipment could be used to observe righting and equilibrium reactions, vestibular reactivity, and postural control.  Observe how the child adjusts his/her posture and head alignment, and how they react to being displaced backwards, forwards and sideways in space.  It might be useful to observe if a child throws themselves in one direction or another, or if they can control their body’s movement well.  Are they able to keep an aligned posture with their eyes closed, or only with their eyes open?  Do they cling onto you or ask to repetitively touch the floor when moving backwards over a ball?  Can they coordinate their body’s movement to rock from side to side or forwards and backwards on an unstable piece of equipment?

Wooden Blocks/Lego Pieces/Tetris set

These little sets can be invaluable when wanting more information on a child’s two- and three-dimensional spatial skills.  A therapist can gain insight into a child’s ability to plan and copy a simple or complex design;  their ability to spatially relate objects to each other; their visual memory and visual spatial memory perception; and even spatial visualisation and manipulation skills.  With younger children, a therapist can observe a child’s precision, dexterity and graded control when building a tower, not to mention looking at their grasp, in-hand manipulation skills and midline crossing development.

Whiteboard/Paper in Plastic Sleeve and Whiteboard Marker

This is a useful thing to have on hand for observing a child’s visual-motor integration development; body concept in drawing; ability to identify shapes, letters and numbers; letter and number formations; naming of body parts; and even two-dimensional spatial planning with dot-to-dot copying.  For older children, try to ask them to draw a simple block construction from a different perspective to observe their higher-level three-dimensional perception.



Paper and cardboard, left- and right-handed scissors, different types of crayons, pencils, ruler, sharpener, eraser.  With these items you can observe the functional skills of drawing, colouring, and cutting, as well as the bilateral skills of folding a page, ruling lines with a ruler, the ability to stabilise a page and rub out a mistake.  Why not add a spatial element to your cutting and ask a child to construct a copied design from shapes, like a flower with petals, or a train with different-sized carriages?

Puzzles and Books

Puzzles and books can be useful when adding to our observations of visual perceptual skills.  If we hide half of a picture with our hand, can the child figure out what the object is?  If we ask them to count the frogs in the puzzle, are they able to find them?  Can they piece the puzzle together when building it?  Do they reference the picture, or do they struggle to track from the picture to the puzzle in front of them?  Language development can also be explored by these tools.  Can the child develop a story from the picture, do they have the vocabulary to describe details in the puzzle or book?  Can the child identify where objects are in relation to one another, for example, the frog is on the rock?


Beads and Thread

Apart from observing bilateral hand use, precise grasps and hand-eye coordination; threading gives the opportunity to observe a child’s visual and auditory sequencing by giving a visual example or listing a sequence of colours to thread onto the string.  You could also include different-sized beads to observe a child’s size perception.

Maze Toy

The ability to plan and move an object through space when you cannot touch it is important for spatial visualisation and calls on a degree of motor and visual integration.  Maze toys are helpful to observe the development of this skill in different ages.

Balls – different sizes

Balls of different weights and sizes offer opportunities for different observations – graded force when throwing towards a target, bouncing, kicking, catching and throwing.

Stacking Cups

These provide a good opportunity to observe object permanence with smaller objects.  Does a child look for a small ball if hidden under the largest cup?  Does a child have the language to tell you it is the largest cup?  The typical size perception activities also make for useful observations.

Matching Pairs of Animal Toys and a Towel

Not only is pairing up animals useful to observe if a child is developing reasoning skills, form constancy and figure-ground perception; but asking a child to match an animal with one hidden underneath a towel with their vision occluded can give valuable insights into touch perception development.  Games involving visual and auditory memory can also be borne from these objects.


Form Board

Being able to name, match and manipulate shapes can be observed with this simple game.  Asking a child to place or fetch shapes in a specific order adds another element to your observations.


Pegs with Pictures

Not only does this allow you to look at fine motor strength in the fingers and hand, but you can also  observe pronation when turning the pegs over to hide the pictures and could even play a memory game with matching pictures.  These make for good objects to count too.

Ice cream sticks

Can the child copy a simple design made with ice cream sticks?  Do they know which stick lies on top and which is below?   Can they post them into a numbered hole in a container lid?


Child and Therapist

In my view, the most important part of your assessment kit is you and the child you are assessing.  We can be instrumental in unlocking so much of what a child can do, but also things they struggle with.  Observations starting with inter-personal relating – can they hold eye-contact and listen, or do they look away when talking; can they initiate conversation, or only respond; are they anxious upon testing or can they cope with slight pressure; does the child have an organised approach to activities, or are they disorganised?  We can also use ourselves and the child to look at if a child can mimic a facial expression, follow verbal instructions, or copy a movement pattern.  We look at their gross motor skills when copying our demonstrations, observing the finer details of their development; we look at what they are able to do with their bodies when they have their own ideas; and we can watch them relate their bodies to the pieces of equipment in our rooms, or in their home.