COSMIN database

Evaluation of neuromotor function in infancy-A systematic review of available methods

Heineman, K. R. and Hadders-Algra, M.
OBJECTIVE: Neuromotor function in infancy can be evaluated in various ways. Assessment instruments are used for early detection of children with a high risk for developmental disorders. Early detection enables clinicians to provide intervention at a young age when plasticity of the nervous system is high. The assessments may also be used to monitor intervention. The present article will review the psychometric properties of methods to assess neuromotor function in infancy.

METHOD: A literature search was performed in PubMed, Medline, and PsycINFO (1966-2007) on instruments to assess neuromotor functioning of infants.

RESULTS: Fifteen instruments were included and classified into 4 groups: (1) Comprehensive neurological examinations (n = 4). These techniques are widely used, though little is known about their reliability. Their validity in predicting major developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy is good; their predictive validity for minor motor disorders is moderate at best. (2) Procedures with standardized scoring (n = 7). These have good reliability, but only moderate predictive validity for major developmental disorders. No data available for prediction of minor developmental disorders. (3) Observation of milestones (n = 2). Its predictive validity for major developmental disorders is only moderate, whereas reliability is good. (4) Assessment of quality of motor behavior or motor patterns (n = 2). These instruments have the best predictive validity for major and minor developmental motor disorders, but current methods are only useful under the age of 4 months.

CONCLUSION: Prediction of developmental outcome at an early age is difficult. In medical evaluations of high-risk infants, the best predictions are achieved through a combination of multiple, complementary tools, that is, achieved milestones, neurological examination and assessment of the quality of motor behavior.
J Dev Behav Pediatr
1536-7312 (Electronic)
Publication year:
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Children (0-18)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the nervous system
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
6 - Clinical rating scales
7 - Observations
AIMS - Alberta Infant Motor Scale     | 
Amiel-Tison neurological examination
BSID-II - Bayley Scales of Infant Development II
BSID-III - Bayley Scales of Infant Development-III [alias: Bayley-III]   
GMs - General Movements
HINE - Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination
Infanib - Infant neurological international battery
MAI - Movement Assessment of Infants
Muscle power
NBI - Neuromotor Behavioral Inventory
PDMS-2 - Peabody Developmental Motor Scales-2
PRP - Primitive Reflex Profile
SOMP-I - Structured Observation of Motor Performance
TIME - Toddler and Infant Motor Evaluation
TIMP - Test of Infant Motor Performance
Touwen infant neurological examination