Measuring Function in Young Children with Impairments

Niewczyk, Paulette M. MPH, PhD; Granger, Carl V. MD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181cd17e8
Research Report

Purpose: To determine the psychometric properties of a new functional assessment tool, the WeeFIM 0-3 instrument, intended to measure function in young children with physical, cognitive, or developmental impairments from birth to 3 years of age. Specific aims were to determine whether differences exist in WeeFIM 0-3 ratings in children with impairments as compared with those without, controlling for age and gender, and to determine the internal consistency, validity, and hierarchical properties of the instrument.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of 173 children with impairments and 354 without impairments.

Results: Controlling for age, children without impairments had significantly higher mean WeeFIM 0-3 ratings than children with impairments. There were no differences in mean ratings by gender. The instrument displayed high internal consistency, construct, and predictive validity; maintained a hierarchy of item difficulty; and discriminant properties.

Conclusion: Further reliability studies are needed to determine the instrument sensitivity and ability to detect change over time.

This study of some of the psychometric properties of the WeeFIM 0-3 demonstrated that the instrument displayed high internal consistency, construct and predictive validity, maintained a hierarchy of item difficulty, and displayed discriminant properties between children with and without impairments.

Department of Rehabilitative Medicine (P.M.N., C.V.G.), Center for Functional Assessment Research, and Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (P.M.N., C.V.G.), University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York; Department of Health Care Studies (P.M.N.), Daemen College, Amherst, New York

Address Correspondence to: Paulette M. Niewczyk, MPH, PhD, 270 Northpointe Parkway, Suite 300, Amherst, NY 14228. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.