What is the Allen Cognitive Level Scale and Screen?

Allen cognitive levels focus on improving the skills rather than just pointing out the problems as it involves memory and cognitive testing that in all uses your strength in real life situations and problems and suggests methods to deal with them. Thus, here we will understand more about claudia allen cognitive levels, allen scale of cognitive levels of performance, allen cognitive levels, and dementia and related issues of ACLS. 

What is the Allen cognitive level scale?

The valuation is carried out to identify the capability to make decisions, or perform self-reliantly or independently, or can safely perform all the basic or essential skills, and at the same time also learn new activities or abilities. Here, the traditional method of using pen or pencil and paper is not followed to ask questions rather cognitive test are performed using diverse methods like using a flat leather string which has a light side, as well as a dark side, a large blunt needle, and a larger piece of rectangular-shaped leather with pre-made holes around the outside edges as methods of taking testes, are used.

It was first developed in 1985 by Claudia K. Allen, along with her colleagues and from then onwards it is also being modified several times. Thus, it includes a scale in which levels are ranked from zero to six to identify different cognitive abilities.

Allen cognitive placemat tests

Allen cognitive levels involve several tasks of sewing stitches which are as follows:

  1. Running Stitch: Running Stitch is the first Allen cognitive task where you need to perform several stitches in a row which is first demonstrated by the Allen cognitive test administrator or demonstrator.
  2. Whipstitch: Whipstitch is the second Allen cognitive task where you again need to perform several stitches in a row as well as keep the light side of the leather string as facing to the up and to make sure it is not twisted, which is first demonstrated by the Allen cognitive test administrator or demonstrator.
  3. Error Correcting: Here, in this task, the test administrator sews the leather stitches of the rectangle incorrectly thus making an error which is known to be as the cross-in-the-back error, and then he will ask you to rectify it or fix it. After which another error will be performed by the administrator of the test known to be as the twisted lace mistake, which he will again ask you to fix up.
  4. Cordovan Stitch: Cordovan Stitch is the last one in Allen cognitive levels stitches, where the test administrator shows you the final version of stich and will ask you to make the three stitches without any demonstration of the stitches.

Allens cognitive levels:

Here we have listed down all Allen’s cognitive levels which are as follows:

  • ACL 0: Coma
  • ACL 1: Awareness
  • ACL 2: Gross Body Movements
  • ACL 3: Manual Actions
  • ACL 4: Familiar Activity
  • ACL 5: Learning New Activity
  • ACL 6: Planning New Activity

Now, we will discuss these Allen cognitive level screen or say Allen cognitive levels 1-6 in detail with their explanation of an individual’s skills. 

  • ACL 0: Coma: Here 0 in the initial ACL stage shows that an individual is not able to respond and is comatose. Thus, here a score of 0.8 shows only the Generalized Reflexive Actions.
  • ACL 1: Awareness: Here, in the first ACL level the change in response to an external stimulus is noted down and allen cognitive levels scoring of 1.0 to 1.8 is shown that requires care of 24 hours a day and tells us that cognition and awareness are extremely impaired. It shall be as:
    • 1.0: Withdrawing from Noxious Stimuli
    • 1.2 Responding to Stimulation
    • 1.4: Locating Stimulation
    • 1.6 Rolling in Bed
    • 8: Raising Body Parts
  • ACL 2: Gross Body Movements: Here, in the second ACL level the individual’s postural actions limits his awareness. Thus, Allen cognitive level test score from 2.0 and 2.8 tells us the presence of mobility. Here care is needed in case of wandering and to assist with all activities concerning everyday living, such as bathing, eating, and hygiene. The scores are as:
    • 2.0 Overcoming Gravity
    • 2.2 Righting Reactions
    • 2.4 Aimless Walking
    • 2.6 Directed Walking
    • 2.8: Grabbing
  • ACL 3: Manual Actions: In this, ACL 3 the allen cognitive level test score ranges from 3.0 and 3.8 which shows us the need for supervision and assistance with activities of daily living. The scores are as:
    • 3.0 Grasping Objects
    • 3.2 Distinguishing Objects
    • 3.4 Sustaining Actions on Objects
    • 3.6 Noting Effects on Objects
    • 3.8 Using All Objects
  • ACL 4: Familiar Activity: In this Allen cognitive level screen scoring is done between 4.0 and 4.8 which tells us about the routine activities which a person is aware of and can solve by himself. Here, the scores are as:
    • 4.0 Sequencing
    • 4.2 Differentiating Features
    • 4.4 Completing Goal
    • 4.6 Personalizing
    • 4.8 Rote Learning
  • ACL 5: Learning New Activity: In this Allen cognitive placemat test scoring ranges from 5.0 and 5.8 that shows us that person can do new things or say can learn up new things by trial and error method. Thus, Allen’s cognitive levels occupational therapy involves people at a higher level who can perform independently and achieve better and lower ones can score better with little guidance and weekly checks. Here, the scores are as:
    • 5.0 Continuous Neuromuscular Adjustments
    • 5.2 Discriminating Between Parts of an Activity
    • 5.4 Self-directed Learning
    • 5.6 Considering Social Standards of Context
    • 5.8 Consulting with Others
  • ACL 6: Planning New Activity: Planning new activity is the highest in allen cognitive levels chart with the highest score depicting intact cognition. This tells us that by using your executive functioning ability you can achieve better, score more, and make good decisions. The score is 6, that is shown as:
    • 6.0 Planning without Objects

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Allen cognitive levels caregiver guide:

 The Allen cognitive levels caregiver guide comprises instructions from various fields as nutrition, medication management, and safety within each Allen cognitive level. Thus, we can classify Allen’s cognitive levels occupational therapy as follows: 

  • Levels 2.4 – 2.8:

In these levels, the individuals need a consistent routine and close supervision. The care giver should be patient in nature and provide ample time in his care.

  • Levels 3.0 – 3.4:

In these levels also the individuals need a consistent routine and close supervision other than the individual can also actively participate in everything or any activity.

  • Levels 3.6 – 3.8:

In allen cognitive level 3.6 caregiver guide also the same amount of care and supervision is provided but here the individuals need to perform their activities by themselves so that hygiene can be understood by them.

  • Levels 4.0 – 4.4:

In these levels of Allen cognitive levels, occupational therapy individuals need to perform familiar household tasks but require constant reminders and education. Here the caregivers are needed to practice the safety routines as well as periodical checks.

  • Levels 4.6 – 4.8:

In allen cognitive level 4.6 caregiver guide daily supervision is needed although individuals can live alone and practice the daily routine work like cooking, meal planning, and managing their money, etc. And there may be a need to monitor and supervise their activities if needed.

  • Levels 5.0 – 5.2:

Here, the allen cognitive level screen caregiver guide depicts that individuals can live alone with weekly supervision where a safe environment with routine is provided to them.

Allen’s cognitive disabilities model:

the integration of the cognitive functional ability and the level of activities that individuals are willing to perform are emphasized in Allen’s Cognitive Disabilities Model (CDM). The needs and implement changes of individuals are taken into consideration as well. Here, six functional cognitive levels are used to demonstrate the degree of cognitive disability which are as follows:

(1) automatic actions,

(2) postural actions,

(3) manual actions,

(4) goal-directed actions,

(5) exploratory actions, and

(6) planned actions

These six functional cognitive levels or Claudia Allen cognitive levels are discussed above as, ASL0 to ASL6. 

How can you score ACLS (Allen Cognitive Level Scale)?

Scoring ACLS depends upon completion of given task, where the difficulty level of the task determines the ACLS (Allen Cognitive Level Scale) score to get by the individual person. Higher the ACLS score higher will be the difficulty level and higher will be the independency of the individual to do the given task. 

Here, the ACLS score ranges from low 3.0 which determine that individual needs assistance and care to the high 5.8 that depicts the independence of the individual in doing task. 

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Allen cognitive levels chart:

The disabilities or cognitive disorder need to be assessed to provide proper care and training and this can be done with the help of Allen cognitive levels occupational therapy. So, let us study the summarized ACL chart which also tells us Allen cognitive test score interpretation with the care needed.

Level number Explanation of a person’s skills The necessary amount of care required
ACL 1 awareness based on sensory interventions including automatic actions such as flashing light, a sound, etc. Total assistance is needed and provided with full time supervision. 
ACL 2 Gross body movements: where the individual can move without knowing the reason behind those movements Maximum assistance with full time supervision
ACL 3 Manual actions: Where the person has ability to manipulate and know as well as understand different actions but got distracted.  Moderate assistance in daily activities with full time supervision should be provided
ACL 4 Familiar activity: Where the individual has capability of living alone yet needs clues or have performed the activity earlier.  Minimum assistance with daily visits
ACL 5 Learning new activity: Here, the individual possess the ability or capability to do new task or activity Unfriendly supervision should be provided with weekly visits and verbal cuing
ACL 6 Planning new activity: Person can plan and make new goals. Independent


Allen’s cognitive levels focus on improving the skills rather than just pointing out the problems as it involves memory and cognitive testing that in all uses your strength in real-life situations and problems and suggests methods to deal with them. Thus, Allen’s cognitive level test is the assessment to make decisions, or function self-reliantly, or can safely perform all the basic or necessary skills, and at the same time also learn new abilities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Allen cognitive level screen?

The Allen cognitive level screen is a tool to detect the pragmatic cognitive disabilities known as the allen’s cognitive disabilities model. It was published in 1985 that allowed assessment of patients’ cognitive functioning.

What do Allen’s cognitive scores mean?

The Allen cognitive scores are classified into different sections that show us different meaning as follows:

  • ACL 0: Coma
  • ACL 1: Awareness, Here the score ranges from 1.0 to 1.8.
  • ACL 2: Gross Body Movements Here the score ranges from 2.0 to 2.8.
  • ACL 3: Manual Actions Here the score ranges from 3.0 to 3.8.
  • ACL 4: Familiar Activity Here the score ranges from 4.0 to 4.8.
  • ACL 5: Learning New Activity, Here the score ranges from 5.0 to 5.8
  • ACL 6: Planning New Activity, in this the score is 6 or say 6.0

How do you score the routine task inventory?

To score in routine task inventory you need to focus on Physical/ADL, Community/IADL, Communication, and Work Readiness areas. As the scores are based upon the observation as well as the performance of the individual.

How much should I score in Allen tests?

Allen cognitive scores range from ACL0 to ACL6 as low to high although the score usually ranges from 3.0 low to 5.8 high. And a score between 3.0 to 5.8 means you can function independently and higher the score means higher you are reliable o your own and need less care.

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