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Oromotor dysfunction in minimally verbal children with cerebral palsy: characteristics and associated factors

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lindsay Pennington



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor & Francis, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Aim To explore the characteristics and associated factors of oromotor dysfunction in minimally verbal children with cerebral palsy (CP) aged five to six years, recruited from a population-based registry. Methods Twenty children with CP who were minimally verbal completed a standardised, observational oromotor assessment. Linear regression analyses examined the relationship between oromotor dysfunction and potential associated factors (e.g., fine and gross motor function, communication, feeding). Results Oromotor dysfunction affected every participant and was identified in all structures examined (i.e., face, jaw, lips, tongue). Oromotor movements showed little dissociation between jaw, lip and tongue movements. Oromotor dysfunction was univariately associated with the Manual Ability Classification System levels IV-V (p=0.001), reduced communication skills (p=0.002), and a prolonged eating duration (>45 minutes) (p=0.006), even when non-verbal cognition served as a covariate. Interpretation Oromotor dysfunction was highly prevalent in our sample of minimally verbal children with CP, having significant functional impacts on feeding and communication. Findings suggest that fine motor function (i.e., Manual Ability Classification System levels IV-V) is a stronger predictor than gross motor function for identifying children with CP who are minimally verbal and at risk of oromotor dysfunction.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mei C, Hodgson M, Reilly S, Fern B, Reddihough D, Mensah F, Pennington L, Losche A, Morgan A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Disability and Rehabilitation

Year: 2020

Volume: n/a

Online publication date: 03/08/2020

Acceptance date: 23/06/2020

Date deposited: 25/06/2020

ISSN (print): 0963-8288

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5165

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2020.1788179


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