Alberta Infant Motor Scale Article Summary

Posted on: February 24, 2019 | By: hbecker2 | Filed under: Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS)

Descriptive Information:

Purpose: The Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) was developed by Martha Piper and Johanna Darrah in order to assess the development of motor milestones and what steps are necessary to attain them. The AIMS is also important in helping to identify “at risk” populations based on a variety of diagnoses.

Cost: 50 copies at Amazon for $46.06, 50 copies at Elsevier for $48.95

Training: The Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) does not have required training before administration. However, online training courses are available in order to help physical and occupational therapists in the birth to three system determine what individuals the AIMS is best intended for as well as most accurate interpretation of results.

Test Type: discriminative, evaluative, observational

Population: pre-term and full-term infants aged 0-18 months

Revisions: A 2014 re-evaluation study of the AIMS found that the normative values established by Piper and Darrah remain appropriate when interpreting AIMS score.


The article by Dagenais et al., Superior Performance in Prone in Infants With Congenital Heart Disease Predicts an Earlier Onset of Walking, looked at the performance of infants aged 4 months in prone and its relation to their ability to walk by 18 months old. The study demonstrated the infants who were able to perform better on the prone portion of the AIMS, especially a score of 4 which represents the ability of the infant to raise their head and chest while weight bearing through the forearms, were more likely to walk by 18 months of age. Eighty-eight infants with congenital heart defects were recruited, with 71 infants meeting the inclusion criteria. Infants were assessed at both 4 months and 18 months of corrected age. Forty-seven of the 51 infants that were able to achieve the prone prop-up position at 4 months of age were able to walk by 18 months old. Gender does seem to have an impact as girls were more likely to walk by 18 months than boys. Length of hospital stay prior to 18 months was another predictor of whether or not infants could walk by 18 months of age. This study looked at overall demographic information, surgical history, length of hospital stay, and other variables that may impact the ability of prone performance. Overall, this study encourages medical professionals to encourage prone positioning of infants with congenital heart defects, as long as not otherwise contraindicated early on in development.


-Identified an early indicator of onset of walking

-Suggests need for early physical therapy referral when certain milestones are not met in infants with congenital heart disease

-Looked at both genders


-No control group

-No use of other outcome measures

-No parameters established for appropriate amount of time in prone positioning

-Small sample size


1. Piper M, Pinnell L, Darrah J, Maguire T, Byrne P.  Construction and validation of the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS). Can J Public Health. 1992 Jul-Aug; 83 Suppl 2:S46-50.

2. Darrah J, Bartlett D, Maguire TO, Avison WR, Lacaze-Masmonteil T. Have infant gross motor abilities changed in 20 years? A re-evaluation of the Alberta Infant Motor Scale normative values. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014;56(9):877-81.

3. Dagenais L, Materassi M, Desnous B, Vinay M, Doussau A, Sabeh P, Prud’homme J, Gagnon K, Lenoir M, Charron M, Nuyt A, Poirier M, Beaulieu-Genest L, Carmant L, Birca A. Superior Performance in Prone in InfantsWith Congenital Heart Disease Predicts an Earlier Onset of Walking. Journal of Child Neurology 2018, Vol. 33(14) 894-900


2 responses to “Alberta Infant Motor Scale Article Summary”

  1. jlittle17 says:

    This article seems to be a great application of the AIMS, with information about prone positioning to be gleaned for treatment of infants with congenital heart defects. Interesting observation that girls were more likely to be walking by 18 months when compared to boys. Is this a known trend or was this just this study’s findings? Also, what are the other components of the AIMS, and were they impacted by prone positioning as well?

  2. hbecker2 says:

    Current studies show that both genders develop motor milestones at about the same rate, and the consensus is that parents should expect their children to start walking between 9 and 16 months old. This study did not go into detail about the differences found between genders, they just explained there was statistical significance. The AIMS itself looks at prone, supine, sitting, and standing positioning. This study only looked at prone positioning, so I cannot speak for impacts in infants with congenital heart disease and other positions. However, this study looked at prone positioning due to parents being cautious of turning infants with congenital heart disease onto their stomachs, especially after surgery.

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