Early diagnosis of abnormal development of preterm newborns: assessment instruments

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2008 Jul-Aug;84(4):289-99. doi: 10.2223/JPED.1815.


Objective: To review the literature regarding screening psychomotor tests for the early identification of developmental problems.

Sources: A search on SciELO, PubMed and Google Scholar was performed using the terms "prematurity," "developmental delay," "cerebral palsy," "early diagnosis" and "evaluation tests."

Summary of the findings: A total of 455 references were listed, and 174 studies were selected for this review based on title, relevance, and abstract. Only original and electronically available material, from 1985 forward, with information on design, applicability, and psychometric properties of those tests was included.

Conclusions: Screening tests are important to speed the beginning of treatment measures in order to allow for better developmental outcome. Among the many tests that can be employed for this purpose, the DENVER II and the Alberta Infant Motor Scale are the most often used in Brazilian studies. The Movement Assessment of Infants is starting to be used in our country. Two other tests are recommended in the literature due to their high sensibility and specificity: the Test of Infant Motor Performance and the General Movements.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis*
  • Child Development
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Psychomotor Performance*