Instruments for the evaluation of motor abilities for children with severe multiple disabilities: A systematic review of the literature

Res Dev Disabil. 2015 Dec:47:185-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2015.09.002. Epub 2015 Oct 4.


Based on a systematic review, psychometric characteristics of currently available instruments on motor abilities of children with disabilities were evaluated, with the aim to identify candidates for use in children with severe multiple (intellectual and motor) disabilities. In addition, motor abilities are essential for independent functioning, but are severely compromised in these children. The methodological quality of all studies was evaluated with the Consensus Based Standards for the Selection of Health Status Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) Checklist; overall levels of evidence per instrument were based on the Cochrane Back Review Group strategy. As a result, 18 studies with a total of eight instruments, developed for children with cerebral palsy (CLA, GMFM-88 and LE85), spinal muscular atrophy (MHFMS), neuromuscular diseases (MFM), disabilities 0-6 years (VAB, WeeFIM), and one developed specifically for children with severe multiple disabilities (TDMMT) were found. Strong levels of evidence were found for construct validity of LE85 and MFM and for responsiveness of WeeFIM, but reliability studies of these instruments had a limited methodological quality. Up to now studies of the TDMMT resulted in limited and unknown evidence for structural validity due to the poor methodological quality of reliability studies. In a next step, the clinical suitability of the instruments for children with severe multiple disabilities will be evaluate.

Keywords: Children; Instrument evaluation; Motor abilities; Psychometrics; Severe multiple disabilities; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disabled Children*
  • Humans
  • Motor Skills*
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / diagnosis
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / physiopathology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index