Background: The Functional Independence Measure for children (WeeFIM) is a new instrument for evaluating functionality in disabled children aged 9-100 months. It was developed to determine a child's functional capacity and performance. With no baseline information about Thai children, it is difficult to assess whether a patient is initially high or low with respect to function.
Methods: The aim of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the interrater, intrarater reliability and appropriateness of the use of the WeeFIM and to establish a normative data profile suitable for Thai children. The WeeFIM is an instrument used to assess independence in self-care, sphincter control, transfer, locomotion, communication, and social cognition.
Results: Direct interviews were conducted in the communities for 569 normal Thai children (289 girls and 280 boys) aged 6-100 months. The interrater and intrarater reliability scores were examined. The WeeFIM total and domain scores increased progressively with age. Intraclass correlation coefficients for the reliability for the WeeFIM domain score ranged from 0.90 to 0.99. Total WeeFIM intraclass correlation coefficients values were greater than 0.97 for all analyses. The authors classified the 18 items into six groups according to the degree of correlation with age. Most items were highly correlated with age as indicated by a Spearman's correlation coefficient greater than 0.8. The interrater and intrarater reliability of the WeeFIM subscores was high.
Conclusion: The current study demonstrated that WeeFIM could be employed as a useful and reliable instrument for assessing functional independence for Thai children. Therefore, usage of WeeFIM with different age criteria for achieving independence should be adopted. Normative functional independence measures for a large group of Thai children will enhance the knowledge base about their development measurement and provide a database for future investigations on clinical population in Thailand.