Importance: Impaired tactile perception frequently accompanies motor deficits in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Assessing tactile perception precisely for children with CP remains challenging because of a lack of assessments with robust psychometric evidence or standard procedures.
Objective: To develop a standardized assessment tool, the Tactile Perceptual Test (TPT), for measuring tactile perception in children with CP and to examine its psychometric properties.
Design: Observational study design.
Setting: University research laboratory and medical center.
Participants: Children with CP (n = 100) and typical development (TD; n = 50).
Outcomes and Measures: The TPT includes four subtests measuring stereognosis, roughness, hardness, and heaviness. Three comparator instruments, Semmes–Weinstein monofilaments, Two-Point Discrimination, and the stereognosis subtest of the Revised Nottingham Sensory Assessment, were used for convergent validity.
Results: Good test–retest reliability was confirmed for all of the TPT subtests. The values of minimal detectable change were acceptable. Moderate correlations between the TPT and comparator instruments were found, as expected. For known-groups validity, the significant difference was confirmed between children with CP and those with TD.
Conclusions and Relevance: The TPT is a reliable and valid measure for multiple subdomains of tactile perception in children with CP. This tactile assessment may help clarify tactile performance to provide appropriate, precise interventions.
What This Article Adds: The TPT measures tactile perception in children with CP. It has four subdomains of tactile perception that could facilitate prioritization of tactile treatment of specific subdomains and thereby aid in the provision of appropriate interventions.