Using motor milestones as a multistep process to screen preterm infants for cerebral palsy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997 Jan;39(1):12-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1997.tb08198.x.


Pediatricians often informally use motor milestones to screen infant motor development, and one advantage is that they can be used during sequential office visits, as a multistep screening process. In this study we evaluated six motor milestones (roll prone to supine, roll supine to prone, sit with support, sit without support, crawl and cruise) as a multistep process in screening for cerebral palsy in 173 high-risk preterm infants (<33 weeks gestational age) who had been followed with sequential developmental assessments for at least 18 months. At the 18 to 24 month evaluation, 31 (18%) had cerebral palsy. We found that using the motor milestones as serial screening tests for cerebral palsy was more effective in terms of positive predictive value than any individual milestone alone. Limited community resources can be more efficiently used if preterm infants with delays in more than four motor milestones are referred for further evaluation and early intervention services.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Risk Factors