The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to social security payments. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. DCLAD (Child) professional questionnaire scoring steps 2 to 4 - developmentally-linked functional abilities


Steps 2 to 4 of the DCLA professional questionnaire scoring exist to allocate scores to the responses on the questionnaire. The scores are obtained by a comparison of the child's ability to perform particular functions against the standard for a child of that chronological age without a disability or medical condition. Questions 1 - 8 on the professional questionnaire are linked to standard developmental milestones or stages of development. These steps measure developmentally-linked functions.

What are the functional domains

The following table indicates which functional domain is assessed in each of the questions which are scored at steps 2 to 4.

Domain number on THP questionnaire Functional domain Step for scoring
1 Communication (listening, reading and understanding) - receptive language skills 2
2 Communication (talking, writing or signing) - expressive language skills 2
3 Self care skills - feeding and mealtime skills 2
4 Self care skills - hygiene and grooming skills 3
5 Self care skills - dressing skills 2
6 Social and community skills 2
7 Hand movement - mobility (fine motor) 2
8 Body movement - mobility (gross motor) 4

Explanation: These functional domains are consistent with contemporary theory and practice, and are similar to those used in other methods of assessment within the community. The question numbers correspond with the question numbers in the DCLA (Child) Determination 2010.


For the purposes of CP (child) and CA (child), functional domains are categories of ability that are measured by the professional questionnaire to assess the child's functional ability (1.1.F.250) or disability (1.1.D.160). The professional questionnaire assesses the child in these domains as well as behaviour (1.1.B.20) and special care needs (1.1.S.240).

The professional questionnaire is used to assess the following functional domains:

  • communication-receptive language skills including:

    • listening,
    • reading, and
    • understanding,
  • communication-expressive language skills including:
    • talking,
    • writing, and
    • signing,
  • self care skills - feeding and mealtime skills,
  • self care skills - hygiene and grooming skills,
  • self care skills - dressing skills,
  • social and community skills,
  • mobility - fine motor, and
  • mobility - gross motor.

Calculating the scores

The professional questionnaire is scored based on the responses provided. The THP indicates only ONE item that most accurately describes the ability of the child in each functional domain. The responses indicate the degree (if any) to which the child functions outside the standard.

The following table explains how scores are allocated:

If the… Then…
THP indicates more than one ability for a functional domain, the score should be based on the most advanced ability that has been indicated.
THP indicates the child performs at the level appropriate to their age for any functional domain, they receive a score of zero for that domain.
THP indicates an ability that is below that level for the child's age, they receive a positive score (greater than zero) for that domain. The score will increase, the further the child's ability is below the standard for their age.

Example: A child who can at best perform the ability which characterises the previous stage of development will obtain a score of +1 for that response. A child who is functioning at 3 stages below their age will obtain a score of +3.

THP indicates the child is able to perform tasks that would only be expected of an older child, they receive a negative score for that domain. The negative score decreases, the further the child's ability is above the standard for their age.

The scores from steps 2 to 4 of the questionnaire are carried over to step 6. Step 5 calculates the score for domain 9 and 10. These are non-developmentally linked functional domains, and are scored differently.

Policy reference: SS Guide Answering the professional questionnaire

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