The Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test (PEDI-CAT) is a time-efficient, valid, easy way to measure the functional abilities of children and youth with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), according to researchers who examined the psychometric properties of the assessment in 96 children and youth with the disorder.

The cross-sectional study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, centered on 2 of the 4 PEDI-CAT domains most impacted by SMA: mobility and performance of daily activities. (The other two domains of the test involve social/cognitive skills and responsibility.) Findings showed that normative PEDI-CAT scores effectively detected limitations in 89.5% of 95 participants in mobility and 53.1% of 96 participants in daily activity performance.

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Across the 3 SMA types and 3 motor classifications, there was a significant difference in the mean ranks of the scaled scores for the mobility and daily activity categories. Convergent validity was effectively demonstrated for the daily activities and mobility domains of the test. Investigators observed floor effects in <10.4% of the sample for the mobility and daily activities categories.

The authors summarized, “the PEDI-CAT was feasible to administer and caregivers expressed willingness to complete the PEDI-CAT in the future.” The PEDI-CAT administration was time-efficient, with an average of 5.4 minutes spent to complete the mobility section and 3.3 minutes to complete the daily activities section. 

A subset of caregivers completed a questionnaire following administration of the measure. The results showed 79% of the caregivers of these children with SMA were willing to repeat the test again, and 92.1% expressed that the test provided useful information. Caregivers provided feedback to include power wheelchair mobility as additional content in the PEDI-CAT assessment.


Fragala-Pinkham M, Pasternak A, McDermott MP, et al. Psychometric properties of the PEDI-CAT for children and youth with spinal muscular atrophy. Published online July 13, 2021. J Pediatr Rehabil Med. doi:10.3233/PRM-190664.

Pediatric evaluation of disability inventory- computer adaptive test. Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Accessed July 20, 2021.