Occupational Therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement (WFOT 2012).
A Functional Cognition Framework facilitates this process by helping us understand the cognitive complexity of the tasks our clients want or need to do and comparing that with the cognitive ability of the client to perform the task. The Allen Cognitive Levels describe the hierarchies of functional cognitive capacities. It is when there is a mismatch between the person's underlying abilities and task demands that problems occur. This perspective also focuses on the may do (environmental factors) and will do (personal preferences) of occupational function and allows the therapist to explore the complex interplay between these factors (McCraith, Austin & Earhart in Cognition, Occupation & Participation Across the Life Span, 2011).
The assessments that have developed out of this model are inexpensive and can be learnt by anyone with an understanding of occupational function who is familiar with using standardized assessments. Familiarity with the Cognitive Disabilities Model is essential either by attending a workshop or by receiving mentoring from a therapist experienced in using the model (Manual for the Allen Cognitive Level Screen-5 & the Large Allen Cognitive Level Screen-5, 2007).