Communication ability in cerebral palsy: A study from the CP register of western Sweden

Kate Himmelmann, Karin Lindh, Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Communication is often impaired in cerebral palsy (CP). Tools are needed to describe this complex function, in order to provide effective support. Aim: To study communication ability and the relationship between the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) and CP subtype, gross motor function, manual ability, cognitive function and neuroimaging findings in the CP register of western Sweden. Methods: Sixty-eight children (29 girls), 14 with unilateral spastic CP, 35 with bilateral spastic CP and 19 with dyskinetic CP, participated. The CFCS, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) and Manual Ability Classification System (MACS) levels, cognitive impairment and neuroimaging findings were recorded. Results: Half the children used speech, 32% used communication boards/books and 16% relied on body movements, eye gaze and sounds. Twenty-eight per cent were at the most functional CFCS level I, 13% at level II, 21% at level III, 10% at level IV and 28% at level V. CFCS levels I-II were found in 71% of children with unilateral spastic CP, 46% in bilateral spastic CP and 11% in dyskinetic CP (p = 0.03). CFCS correlated with the GMFCS, MACS and cognitive function (p < 0.01). Periventricular lesions were associated with speech and more functional CFCS levels, while cortical/subcortical and basal ganglia lesions were associated with the absence of speech and less functional CFCS levels (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Communication function profiles in CP can be derived from the CFCS, which correlates to gross and fine motor and cognitive function. Good communication ability is associated with lesions acquired early, rather than late, in the third trimester.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-574
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank the participating children and families. This study was supported by grants from the Norrbacka-Eugenia Foundation , the AnnMari and Per Ahlqvist Foundation , the Linnea and Josef Carlsson Foundation and the Västra Götaland Region .

Keywords

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Communication
  • Function
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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