Oromotor dysfunction and communication impairments in children with cerebral palsy: a register study

Jackie Parkes, Nan Hill, Mary Jane Platt, Caroline Donnelly

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203 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To report the prevalence, clinical associations, and trends over time of oromotor dysfunction and communication impairments in children with cerebral palsy (CP).
Method: Multiple sources of ascertainment were used and children followed up with a standardized assessment including motor speech problems, swallowing/chewing difficulties, excessive drooling, and communication impairments at age 5 years.
Results: A total of 1357 children born between 1980 and 2001 were studied (781 males, 576 females; median age 5y 11mo, interquartile range 3–9y; unilateral spastic CP, n=447; bilateral spastic CP, n=496; other, n=112; Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] level: I, 181; II, 563; III, 123; IV, 82; IV, 276). Of those with ‘early-onset’ CP (n=1268), 36% had motor speech problems, 21% had swallowing/chewing difficulties, 22% had excessive drooling, and 42% had communication impairments (excluding articulation defects). All impairments were significantly related to poorer gross motor function and intellectual impairment. In addition, motor speech problems were related to clinical subtype; swallowing/chewing problems and communication impairments to early mortality; and communication impairments to the presence of seizures. Of those with CP in GMFCS levels IV to V, a significant proportion showed a decline in the rate of motor speech impairment (p=0.008) and excessive drooling (p=0.009) over time.
Interpretation: These impairments are common in children with CP and are associated with poorer gross motor function and intellectual impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1119
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Age of Onset
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication Disorders
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Mouth Diseases
  • Movement
  • Prevalence
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies

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