The Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA), and the group of related assessments (AHA-family), measure and describe how effectively individuals with a hand/arm impairment use their two hands together to perform bimanual tasks.
Since daily activities commonly require the use of both hands, bimanual performance is of vital importance when considering hand function. Recognising that a person with a unilateral impairment will have one well-functioning hand and one hand that is more or less affected by impairment is a central construct to the AHA-family assessments. These tests use the unique perspective of measuring how well a person with unilateral impairment uses his/her affected hand as an “assisting hand” when performing bimanual tasks. It is this performance that is often crucial as to whether bimanual tasks can be completed successfully.
AHA-family assessments are observation based, criterion referenced and responsive to change. The bimanual activities from which the test is scored are age related, relevant and semi-structured allowing interaction with the examiner. It is the person’s typical performance that is elicited in the test situation, as opposed to maximal capacity often measured in other tests. Results from the AHA-family assessments can be used to guide interventions and to measure change over time.