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Language Outcomes of Children with Cerebral Palsy aged 5 years and 6 years: A Population-Based Study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sheena Reilly, Professor Lindsay Pennington



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

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AIM To examine the frequency, range and features of language impairment in a community sample of children with cerebral palsy (CP) aged 5 to 6 years. METHOD Children with CP born between 2005 and 2007 were identified through the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register. Eighty-four participants were recruited, representing 48% of the contacted families. The recruited sample was representative of non-participants. Participants completed standardised measures of receptive and expressive language, and non-verbal cognition. RESULTS Language impairment was identified in 61% (51/84) of participants. Twenty-four percent (20/84) were non-verbal. Co-occurring receptive and expressive language impairment was common (44%, 37/84). Isolated receptive (7%, 6/84) and expressive (5%, 4/84) impairments occurred relatively infrequently. At a group level, verbal and non-verbal participants demonstrated deficits across language sub-domains (i.e., semantics, syntax, morphology), rather than in single domains. Cognitive impairment and GMFCS levels IV-V were associated with higher rates of language impairment, OR=15.2, 95% CI=3.2-71.8 and OR=8.5, 95% CI=1.8-40.3. Only cognition was independently associated with language impairment when both of these factors were considered within a multivariable model. Interpretation Language impairment was common in 5 and 6 year old children with CP, affecting 3 out of 5 children. Participants were impaired across linguistic sub-domains indicating a generalised language deficit. Findings suggest most children would benefit from a clinical language assessment. To target services effectively, sub-groups of individuals with CP at greatest risk for language impairment need to be identified.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mei C, Reilly S, Reddihough D, Mensah F, Pennington L, Morgan A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

Year: 2016

Volume: 58

Issue: 6

Pages: 605-611

Print publication date: 01/06/2016

Online publication date: 14/11/2015

Acceptance date: 20/09/2015

Date deposited: 31/05/2016

ISSN (print): 0012-1622

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8749

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.12957


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Funder referenceFunder name
Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program
Speech Pathology Australia Nadia Verrall Research Grant
1037449National Health and Medical Research Council
1041892National Health and Medical Research Council
436914National Health and Medical Research Council
607315National Health and Medical Research Council
607448National Health and Medical Research Council