Psychometric Properties of Assessments of Cognition in Infants With Cerebral Palsy or Motor Impairment: A Systematic Review

J Pediatr Psychol. 2019 Mar 1;44(2):238-252. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsy068.


Objective: Approximately 50% of people with cerebral palsy have a cognitive impairment. However, many tools used to assess cognition in infants require almost normal fine motor ability, and thus may not accurately reflect cognitive abilities of infants with cerebral palsy or other motor impairments. This systematic review aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties of cognitive assessment tools for infants aged 0-24 months with motor impairments and to make recommendations about the most appropriate cognitive assessment tools for the purpose of discrimination, prediction, and evaluation.

Method: A systematic review was conducted. CINAHL, Embase, ERIC, Medline, PsycINFO, and SCOPUS databases were searched to identify studies reporting on 1 or more psychometric properties of a standardized cognitive assessment tool or questionnaire in a sample/subsample of infants with motor impairment. Of the 4,480 articles reviewed, 9 assessment tools were identified in 20 publications, which met our inclusion criteria. Articles were appraised using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments to assess study rigor. The GRADE framework was applied to develop recommendations for clinical practice.

Results: The Mayes Motor-Free Compilation, Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence, and Bayley-III Low Motor/Vision have predictive and/or discriminative utility in this population. The Mullen Scales of Early Learning was the only tool with psychometric research available examining responsivity to change.

Conclusions: Assessment tools with low-motor/motor-free accommodations have greater accuracy in estimating cognitive abilities of infants with motor impairment than conventional norm-referenced tests. There, however, remains a significant paucity of research in this area.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders / complications*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Motor Disorders / complications*
  • Motor Disorders / physiopathology
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires