Assessment tools and classification systems used for the upper extremity in children with cerebral palsy

Lisa V. Wagner, Jon Davids

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Clinicians interested in assessment and outcome measurement of upper extremity (UE) function and performance in children with cerebral palsy (CP) must choose from a wide range of tools. Questions/purposes: We systematically reviewed the literature for UE assessment and classification tools for children with CP to compare instrument content, methodology, and clinical use. Methods: We searched Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI), US National Library of Medicine (PubMed), and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL Plus) databases (1937 to the present) to identify UE assessment and outcomes tools. We identified 21 tools for further analysis and searched HaPI, PubMed, CINAHL Plus, and Google Scholar ( ) databases to identify all validity and reliability studies, systematic reviews, and original references for each of the 21 tools. Results: The tools identified covered ages birth to adulthood. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health domains addressed by these tools included body function, body structure, activities and participation, and environmental factors. Eleven of the tools were patient or family report, seven were clinician-based observations, and three tools could be used in either fashion. All of the tools had published evidence of validity. Nine of the tools were specifically designed for use in subjects with CP. Two of the tools required formal certification before use. Ten of the tools were provided free of charge by the investigators or institution who developed them. Conclusions: Familiarity with the psychometric and clinometric properties of assessment and classification tools for the UE in children with CP greatly enhances a clinician's ability to select and use these tools in daily clinical practice for both clinical decision-making and assessment of outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1271
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment tools and classification systems used for the upper extremity in children with cerebral palsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this