The Children’s Kitchen Task Assessment:

The Children’s Kitchen Task Assessment:
Is there a correlation between executive functions and sensory functioning?
Diane F. Haas, OTS & Julia Wilbarger, Ph.D., OTR
Occupational Therapy Program ~ Department of Kinesiology ~ University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Children with deficits in executive functioning (EF) have
difficulties initiating and completing tasks, recognizing
inappropriate behavior, and managing the stresses of the school
day (Lauth, Heubeck, & Mackowiak, 2006).
• Children with difficulties in sensory functioning may also
present as having difficulties in task completion, behavior, and
success in school (Miller, Anzalone, Lane, Cermak, & Olson,
• Researchers have explored the elements of EF and are
beginning to understand the complexities of sensory functioning.
At this time there have been no studies that specifically address
the relationship between the two constructs.
• The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between
scores on the CKTA and the SPM by examining variations in the
total scores across a typical school age population.
Correlations between CKTA, SPM, and BRIEF (n=39)
SPM Total SPM Planning
CKTA Total Score1
BRIEF Total Score2
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level
1 Spearman’s Coefficient
2 Pearson’s Coefficient
Correlation between SPM Total Score and CKTA Total Score
• The correlation between total score on the CKTA and total
score on the SPM was not significant, r(37) = -.09, p < .05. Nor
does the SPM subscale on planning correlate with the total score
on the CKTA.
• This suggests that the CKTA does not appear to be sensitive to
sensory processing functions. Occupational therapists would
benefit from administering both the SPM and CKTA to the same
child as it provides a more complete picture of their client.
• Adding an additional scoring component to the CKTA that is
sensitive to both sensory defensive and sensory seeking
behaviors may lead to a clearer picture of sensory functioning as
it relates to real-life functional performance.
• The correlation between total score on the SPM and total score
on the BRIEF was significant, r(37) = .74, p<.01.
• This indicates that there may be a relationship between
executive functions and sensory processing. Additional study
with a larger and more diverse sample is needed to confirm and
further understand this relationship.
• This correlation study design is part of an larger validation
study of the CKTA utilizing the Behavior Rating Inventory of
Executive Function (BRIEF), an established assessment of EF.
• Additional investigation of the data found that the BRIEF
subscale on Emotional Control has interesting significant
relationships to the SPM subscales on Hearing, Touch,
Taste/Smell, Body Awareness, and Balance and Motion.
• Study participants consisted of 39 children, 7 to 11 years of
age, and their primary caregivers. 18 boys and 21 girls were
recruited through several suburban schools in south central
Wisconsin. All children who agreed to participate in the study
were included regardless of age, race, gender, or
socioeconomic status.
• Further study of the executive functioning components that
utilize emotional control and the five basic senses of hearing,
touch, taste, smell, and awareness may lead to a better
understanding of the complex relationship between EF and
sensory functioning.
•The Children’s Kitchen Task Assessment: (Rocke, Hays,
Edwards, & Berg, 2008) is a performance-based assessment
that evaluates components of executive functions using a fun,
safe, and age appropriate activity. Children follow visual and
verbal directions in the form of a recipe book and receive a
score based on the number of prompts they require to complete
the task. Standard cueing guidelines insure consistency among
•The Sensory Processing Measure Home Form (Parham &
Ecker, 2007) is a 75 item survey completed by a parent. Results
provide standard scores: Social Participation, Vision, Hearing,
Touch, Body Awareness, Balance and Motion, Planning and
Ideas, and Total Sensory Systems.
•Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (Gioia et
al., 2000) is a parent report measure designed to address the
multidimensional nature of 8 sub-domains of the EF construct:
Inhibit, Initiate, Organization of Materials, Shift, Working
Memory, Monitor, Emotional Control, and Plan/Organize.
Correlation between SPM Total Score and BRIEF Total Score
Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Retzlaff, P. D., Espy, K A. (2002). Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Behavior
Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) in a Clinical Sample. Child Neuropsychology, 8(4), 249257.
Lauth, G. W., Heubeck, B. G., & Mackowiak, K. (2006). Observation of children with attention-deficit
hyperactivity (ADHD) problems in three natural classroom contexts. British Journal of Educational
Psychology, 76, 385-404.
Miller, L. J., Anzalone, M. E., Lane, S. J., Cermak, S. A., & Osten, E. T. (2007). Concept evolution sensory
integration: A proposed nosology for diagnosis. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(2), 135140.
Parham, D. L., & Ecker, C. (2007). Sensory Processing Measure Home Form. Los Angeles: Western
Psychological Services.
Rocke, K., Hays, P., Edwards, D., & Berg, C. (2008). Development of a performance assessment of
executive function: The children's kitchen task assessment. The American Journal of Occupational
Therapy.: Official Publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association, 62(5), 528-537.
A sincere thank you to Julia Wilbarger, Ph.D., OTR, University of
Wisconsin-Madison Occupational Therapy Department, and the
Gertrude Gaston Fund for the financial support to make this
project possible. Thank you to Jeanne Appleton, OTR, my
research partners, Laura Meitner and Amanda Miller, and all of
the children and their caregivers who participated in the study.