OBJECTIVE: To identify psychometrically sound and clinically feasible assessments of arm activities in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy for implementation in research and clinical practice.
DATA SOURCES: PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Web of Science and reference lists of relevant articles were searched.
REVIEW METHODS: A systematic search was performed based on the following inclusion criteria: (1) evaluative tools at the activity level according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health; (2) previously used in studies including children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy aged 2-18 years; (3) at least one aspect of reliability and validity in children with cerebral palsy should be established. Descriptive information, psychometric properties and clinical utility were reviewed.
RESULTS: Eighteen assessments were identified of which 11 met the inclusion criteria: eight functional tests and three questionnaires. Five functional tests were condition-specific, three were generic. All functional tests measure different aspects of activity, including unimanual capacity and performance during bimanual tasks. The questionnaires obtain information about the child's abilities at home or school. The reliability and validity have been established, though further use in clinical trials is necessary to determine the responsiveness.
CONCLUSIONS: To obtain a complete view of what the child can do and what the child actually does, we advise a capacity-based test (Melbourne Assessment of Unilateral Upper Limb Function), a performance-based test (Assisting Hand Assessment) and a questionnaire (Abilhand-Kids). This will allow outcome differentiation and treatment guidance for the arm in children with cerebral palsy.