AIMS Update and Article Review 2017
Time Requirements: A trained evaluator should be able to complete the AIMS assessment within 20-25 minutes.
Strengths: The AIMS takes into account 4 different functional positions to assess infant motor skills. AIMS includes percentiles for raw scores so that infants can be assessed comparatively and atypical development can be identified.
Weaknesses: The data for the AIMS was collected almost 30 years ago and are reflective of Canadian infants. It has been shown that when determining if infants are at risk or developing atypically, these norms may not be reflective for all geographical, socioeconomic or cultural groups.
Clinical Applications: AIMS is a tool used to identify motor development delays in infants.
New Brazilian developmental curves and reference values for the Alberta infant motor scale
The Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) was originally validated in Canada and thus the established norms are reflective of Canadian infants. This study was intended to determine appropriate norms using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale for infants in Brazil. In order to account for any geographical disparities, infants from the five main geographic areas of Brazil were assessed. The sample size was 1455 infants total with 1231 full term infants and 224 premature infants. Premature infants were age corrected for the study. Infants were assessed by 3 different examiners each having 3 years of experience using the AIMS. The results indicated that Canadian infants scored higher than Brazilian infants for several age groups. There were significant differences in motor scores in infants up to 15 months of age. With these differences in mind, it was also determined that the AIMS was not sensitive enough to the typical motor development of Brazilian infants and therefore could not be used as an accurate assessment tool to determine typical, at risk and atypical results.
Strengths: The article clearly states the need for this study, highlighting specific cases in which the established Canadian norms were not appropriate for different geographical or cultural groups. The study uses an appropriate sample size to represent the Brazilian population so that new norms could be established with a confidence interval of 95%. The examiners that performed the AIMS testing with infants had more than 3 years of training and were thus experienced with the tool. Inter-rater reliability between examiners included values from .86 to .99 indicating good agreement.
Weaknesses: The study recruited infants/families through both newspaper and internet advertisements. This could have led to bias within the representative sample, as it only takes into account those with access to these media sources. The study does not state the specifics of infant behavior during administration of the test and the possibility for differences in performance based on emotional state.
Overall the study makes a strong case for establishment of new norms for Brazilian infants, reiterating the concern that different cultural, socioeconomic, and geographic groups may develop at different rates. This is important clinically as the identification of at risk or atypical development can be based on the outcome of this test.
Saccani R, Valentini NC, Pereira KR. New Brazilian developmental curves and reference values for the Alberta infant motor scale. Infant Behav Dev. 2016 Nov;45(Pt A):38-46. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2016.09.002. PubMed PMID: 27636655.