Can you use the ORS assessment for children?

May 31, 2022 at 12:00 PM

The ORS or, “Outcome Rating Scale” is an assessment tool that has been used for the past two decades in a variety of therapeutic settings. The ORS helps to facilitate improved counselor-patient relationships and identify the most effective strategies for each patient.

The ORS addresses four elements of the patient’s life, tracking the progress that has been made as a result of therapy sessions. Since its introduction into the world of therapy, the ORS assessment has helped diverse populations get the most out of their mental healthcare.

Are you thinking about implementing the ORS assessment in your practice? One question that many counselors have is whether or not this rating system can benefit children. Our team at MyOutcomes is dedicated to bettering the talk therapy experience for people of all ages. Below we have provided all the details you need to know regarding the ORS assessment and how it is used in child therapy sessions.

Does the ORS work for children?

Technically speaking, the ORS assessment is not designed to be used as an assessment tool for children. The Outcome Rating Scale in its original form, should only be used by those of the age of 13 or above. There is however, an altered version of this rating scale that is tailored to the needs of children from ages 6-12. This system is called the CORS or, “Child Outcome Rating Scale.”

What does the CORS entail?

The Outcome Rating Scale used from adolescence to adulthood, is composed of four categories which address various areas of the patient’s life. The patient rates the status of their individual, interpersonal, social, and overall well-being on a regular basis to uncover the progress of their counseling sessions. Unlike the Session Rating Scale, which focuses on individual sessions, the ORS helps gauge the real-life benefits and shortcomings of the patient’s therapy journey. If sessions do not appear to be improving the patient’s life in these key areas, it may be time to try a new approach.

The CORS offers the same insights as the ORS, however this rating scale is simply presented in a way that is more accessible for children. Categories are titled, Me, Family, School, and Everything. Children under the age of 13 may not yet be able to describe the nuances of their social interactions, which is why it is easier for them to rate their progress based on these broad categories. The CORS also features a smiling and frowning face on either side of each rating scale, so that the child understands what they are being asked to assess.

Does the CORS work for young children?

The CORS is targeted towards children from ages 6-12. The Young Child Outcome Rating Scale however, was introduced as a way to collect data from children under the age of six. This is an extremely basic form that is simple enough for toddlers to complete. The YCORS features two large faces - one frowning and one smiling. The child is asked to choose the face that best describes how they are feeling about their counseling journey. While this rating scale does not provide much detail, it offers enough information for the therapist to know whether or not the child feels happy and comfortable during sessions.

How to begin the implementation process

These child-friendly iterations of the Outcome Rating Scale have proven to be effective for all ages. At MyOutcomes, our mission is to support the needs of healthcare providers with flawless integration, tracking, and reporting of ORS results. If you are interested in implementing the ORS into your therapy practice, do not hesitate to contact us.