The validation of the Canadian norms for the Alberta Infant Motor Scale within the Cape Metropolitan
Information on the normal gross motor skills in a healthy population is important since normative data provides a benchmark for health professionals to evaluate deviations from the norm. The Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) was developed to assist with the motor assessment of young infants from birth through to independent walking. The validation of the Canadian cohort for the AIMS needs to be done with regards to infants in South Africa (Cape Town), before it can be utilised by health professionals working in Paediatric Health Care. To determine if the Canadian norms for the AIMS are valid for infants aged 4 - 18 months within the Cape Metropole, South Africa. A prospective descriptive study was conducted to validate the AIMS. A total of 67 infants from one private and one public institution participated in the study. Infants were assessed at 4, 8, 12 and 18 months of age with the AIMS. Results were analysed using ANOVA and t-tests to determine the relationship between age, ethnicity, gender and clinics.The AIMS gross motor scores of this sample of infants were not significantly different from the Canadian norms, bar at 4 months. Female infants performed significantly (p<0.05) better than males at four months. It was not possible to convert the 18 month old infants‟ raw scores into percentile rankings and therefore it could not be compared to the Canadian norms. The results yielded from this study indicate that the AIMS is a valid assessment tool for healthy infants from 8 - 12 months of age within the Cape Metropole, South Africa, however, care should be taken when infants‟ scores at 4 months are compared to the scores of the normative sample. The AIMS can therefore be used by health care professionals at the Baby Well clinics in the Cape Metropole to assess gross motor development in infants for this age group and can consequently refer infants who may display delays in motor development to appropriate paediatric specialists. The results from this pilot study also make provision for future in-depth research on the AIMS with a larger cohort and with more ethnic diversity.