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GAS is similar to SMART (Subjective, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Timed) goals in that they both require repeatable, observable, specific conditions under which outcomes can be measured. However, GAS is unique in that there are at least 5 levels of outcome. The chart below demonstrates this concept:
| GAS Key
-2= much less than expected outcome
-1= somewhat less than expected outcome
0= expected level of outcome, most probable outcome from treatment
+1= somewhat more than expected outcome
+2= much more than expected outcome
As noted in the chart the “0” level is the expected outcome or level of attainment following intervention. Then there are two more favorable outcomes that graduate to higher achievement than expected, and two less favorable outcomes that are lower than expected. Using this scale a therapist can determine if a child has made some progress toward the goal even if the child did not fully achieve the expected outcome, and also whether or not the child has exceeded expectations and achieved a higher outcome than expected.
Using GAS scaling in combination with the International Classification of Function (ICF) model developed by the World Health Organization lends further credence to this tool. Goals can be written with components that address the various domains of the ICF model (participation, activity, impairment, etc.) GAS can also be used in family-centered practice and lends itself to collaborative goal writing and intervention.
The next blog will give more criteria to GAS goals and provide examples of GAS and SMART goals as applied to the same function.