Q1: Where do I find the FOCUS outcome measure?
A: The FOCUS outcome measure is available for purchase on the CanChild website.
Q2: Is it preferable to use the Parent FOCUS outcome measure and only use the Clinician FOCUS outcome measure if, for some reason, the parents cannot complete the outcome measure?
A: Yes. Since the parents have the opportunity to observe their child in different environments, it is preferable to have the parent complete the FOCUS. If the speech-language pathologist is completing the FOCUS, they need to consult with the parents to obtain information about how the child communicates with others at home and in the community.
Q3: Is there a preferred time in which to administer the FOCUS (e.g., before or after a family receives feedback from an assessment)?
A: Parents can complete the FOCUS either before or after the assessment. This is left to your clinical judgment. Some clinicians ask the parents to fill out the measure while the child is being assessed. Others find it helpful to have the parents complete the outcome measure after the assessment so that the parents and clinicians have a common language.
Q4: Should speech-language pathologists coach the parents through the FOCUS items or should parents fill it out independently? Does the amount of coaching impact the validity?
A: FOCUS can be administered either way and it does not affect the validity. If the parent completed the FOCUS independently, we recommend that the clinician review it to check for missed items and to answer any questions. Use your clinical judgment about the best process for each family.
Q5: Can communication disorder assistants/therapy assistants coach the parents through the FOCUS items?
A: Yes. A communication disorder assistant/therapy assistant can assist the parents to complete the FOCUS. It does not affect the validity. The speech-language pathologist, however, must be the one that scores and interprets the FOCUS results.
Q6: What if the clinician has never had an opportunity to observe the child with other children?
A: If you have not had an opportunity to observe your client with other children, ask the parents for their input.
Q7: Would you use the FOCUS with children who do not yet have intentional communication, do not initiate or respond to communication with others and have only random play with toys?
A: Yes. Please complete the FOCUS on all children who are 18 months or older based on chronological age.
Q8: What if different parents bring the children to re-assessment appointments?
A: It is ideal for the same parents to complete all FOCUS outcome measures, but it is not always possible. It is better to collect the data than to not complete the FOCUS.
Q9: How do you respond to the items relating to playing with other children if they are not around other children very much (i.e., home with parents/grandparent)?
A: Ask the parents. It is likely that the children play with some other children such as cousins, siblings and friends.
Q10: What if it is a different speech-language pathologist that fills out the FOCUS every time for the same child. Is that okay?
A: Yes. We have established inter-judge reliability with speech-language pathologists using the FOCUS.
Q11: What do we do if a family does not read English?
A: We have developed an audio version of the FOCUS. This version is also available for download from Flintbox.
Q12: Is it best practice is to have the parent complete the outcome measure during our session or can we send it home to be filled out and have it returned the following session?
A: Use your best clinical judgment and knowledge of the family to determine if this is a possible option for the family.
Q13: Do we complete the FOCUS as an interview if parents can't read?
A: If you feel the parents need assistance, then it is possible to do the FOCUS as a parent interview or you can download the audio version of the FOCUS from Flintbox.
Q14: Should parents ask for input from preschool/daycare centers when they are not sure how to answer an item?
A: Yes. Parents can ask Early Childhood Educators for input, if they would like more information to help them score certain items.
Q15: If you are interviewing a parent, do you complete the parent or the clinician outcome measure?
A: When interviewing the parent, you just record the parents’ answers for them using the FOCUS Outcome Measure - Parent.
Q16: Why do we use the FOCUS Scoring Profile?
A: The FOCUS scoring profile is optional. It can be used to obtain further information for clinical goal setting and treatment. Rank ordering of the average scores for each communication reveals where the child has made the most change in response to treatment and if there are categories that do show less change.
Q17: Can the FOCUS be used with a family who has limited English?
A: Yes. If the family has a limited knowledge of English then the FOCUS can be completed through parent/caregiver interview and/or with an interpreter as needed. The clinician should record the parent’s responses as given.
Q18: Can the FOCUS be completed with the parent over the phone?
A: Yes. The FOCUS can be completed over the phone. Again, the clinician should record the parent’s responses as given.
Q19: Can the FOCUS be printed on both sides of the paper?
A: No. In order to reduce errors and omissions while completing the paper copy of the FOCUS, it is recommended that the FOCUS be copied on single sheets of paper, not double sided.
Q20: What is the age range for the FOCUS outcome measure?
A: Our research confirmed that the FOCUS measures change well for children between 18 months and 72 months of age. The research indicated that the FOCUS was less sensitive to change for children younger than 18 months of age. The FOCUS has been shown to measure change for children with dysarthria who are up to 7 years of age. More research is needed to determine the sensitivity of the FOCUS with older children.