Development of a Proxy Motor Outcome Measure in Young Children With Neuromuscular Disease

Development of a Proxy Motor Outcome Measure in Young Children With Neuromuscular Disease
Recruitment Status: 
Status Last Updated: 
December 12, 2019
Clinical Phenotype(s): 
Study Purpose: 

To develop a parent reported observational measure of motor development in infants and young children, which will serve as a complimentary tool to clinical observation by reporting motor function as observed in the home setting and which will be used in clinical trials.

Study Description: 

Patient reported outcomes (PROs) instruments are often used to measure meaningful treatment benefit or risk in clinical trials. PROs allow patients voices to be heard in ways that assist healthcare clinicians to address treatment effects and individual patient preferences. Unfortunately, infants and young children, especially those with a debilitating disease, such as neuromuscular disorders (NMD), may be less able to provide clear and concise information about treatment effects. In this case, we often defer to parents and guardians (to be referred to collectively as parents throughout protocol) to provide their perception of their child s overall health and wellbeing. Including parents in the assessment process recognizes the unique knowledge parents have of their child s development, reinforces their central role in implementing interventions, and aids in their ability to make better-informed healthcare decisions [1]. Yet, most parent-reports for young children are confined to overall quality of life (QoL). While QoL is an important area of assessment, its meaning varies among different ages and populations, and its results are often not precise enough to reveal small differences within samples [2]. A more specific area of concern in children with NMD is early-onset muscle weakness leading to difficulties in motor function.

The current lack of patient-centered, sensitive measures (based on motor function and item difficulty hierarchy) that are suited for repeated assessments in infants and young children with NMD represents a major obstacle to the rapid translation of promising therapeutic interventions from preclinical models to clinical research studies. Multiple clinical outcome measures used at a single time-point for capturing a child s functional status are burdensome, difficult to interpret and do not provide us with comprehensive, meaningful information to detect changes following an intervention [3]. Psychometric measures that can be completed by parents make it possible to collect a considerable amount of data over many time-points rather than being limited to a single clinical observation. Moreover, a parent-observational measure that focuses on their child s functional performance in their real-life will maximize the ecological validity of measures of motor development used for clinical trials.

Study Type: 
Official Title: 
Development of a Proxy Motor Outcome Measure in Young Children With Neuromuscular Disease
Study Start Date: 
December 5, 2013
Study Completion Date: 
March 31, 2018
Primary Objective(s): 
  1. Parental responses to phone interviews, neuromuscular expert responses to focus groups, parental responses to cognitive interviews, validity and reliability of newly developed questionnaire. [ Time Frame: 2-4 hours ]
Secondary Objective(s): 



Ages Eligible for Study: 18 Years and older (Adult, Older Adult)

Sexes Eligible for Study: All

Accepts Healthy Volunteers: Yes

Inclusion Criteria: 
  • Parent or guardian who has primary responsibility for care (hereafter referred to as parent ) of an infant or child(ren) under the age of 6 years who has been diagnosed with an early onset neuromuscular disorder confirmed by muscle biopsy and/or DNA testing. Medical records documenting the muscle biopsy and/or genetic testing will be submitted to the investigators.
  • Ability to provide consent
  • Age 18 years and above
  • Sufficient English language skills to read and participate in discussions about the study questionnaire

​​​​​For the focus group of experts; Expertise (at least 5 years experience in pediatric neuromuscular disease or questionnaire development). Experts will representatives from the following categories:

  • Pediatric therapists (physical, occupational, speech, respiratory therapists)
  • Pediatric medical doctors
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Social scientists with expertise in questionnaire development
  • Patient advocacy group representatives
Exclusion Criteria: 
  • Participants with a reported history of emotional distress when discussing their child s illness
Study Site(s)/Location(s): 

United States, Maryland

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center

9000 Rockville Pike    

Bethesda, Maryland, 20892

Sponsors & Collaborators: 

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

National Institutes of Health

Principal Investigator(s): 

Katherine G Meilleur, C.R.N.P.

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) ID: