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Speech in children with cerebral palsy

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


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© 2020 Mac Keith Press. Aim: To examine the frequency, characteristics, and factors associated with speech delay and disorder in a community sample of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: Participants were 84 children (37 females, 47 males; aged between 4y 11mo–6y 6mo) with CP identified through a population-based registry. Speech and oromotor function were systematically evaluated to provide a differential diagnosis of articulation, phonological, and motor speech disorders. Results: In total, 82% (69/84) of participants had delayed or disordered speech production, including minimally verbal presentations (n=20). Verbal participants (n=64) presented with dysarthria (78%), articulation delay or disorder (54%), phonological delay or disorder (43%), features of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) (17%), or mixed presentations across these conditions. Speech intelligibility was poorest in those with dysarthria and features of CAS. Speech delay or disorder in verbal participants was associated with language impairment (p=0.002) and reduced health-related quality of life (p=0.04) (Fisher’s exact test). Poorer speech accuracy (i.e. lower percentage consonants correct) correlated with greater impairments in both language (p<0.001) and oromotor function (p<0.001) (Spearman’s test). Interpretation: The speech profile of children with CP is characterized by impairment at multiple levels of speech production (phonetic, cognitive-linguistic, neuromuscular execution, and high-level planning/programming), highlighting the importance of a personalized differential diagnosis informing targeted treatment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mei C, Reilly S, Bickerton M, Mensah F, Turner S, Kumaranayagam D, Pennington L, Reddihough D, Morgan AT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

Year: 2020

Volume: 62

Issue: 12

Pages: 1374-1382

Print publication date: 01/12/2020

Online publication date: 26/06/2020

Acceptance date: 29/04/2020

ISSN (print): 0012-1622

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8749

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.14592

PubMed id: 32588921


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