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Predicting patterns of interaction between children with cerebral palsy and their mothers

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lindsay Pennington, Emerita Professor Helen McConachie


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Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have often been described as passive communicators. Their familiar conversation partners tend to direct and control interaction. Such conversation patterns may have various precursors: children's motor impairment, their intelligibility difficulties, and/or their level of cognitive development. To test the comparative influence of these factors, measures of motor function, speech, communication, cognitive and language skills were applied in 40 children (18 males, 22 females) with CP who were aged from 2 years 8 months to 10 years. These variables were correlated with measures relating to interaction patterns to investigate whether individual features predicted communication style. In this group, poor speech intelligibility was the main predictor of restrictive communication patterns, such as fewer child-initiated conversation exchanges, more simple child communicative acts such as yes/no answers and acknowledgements of the other partner's messages. Results support the provision of therapy to increase children's intelligibility, whether spoken or augmented, such as the introduction of communication aids and training programmes for parents.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pennington L, McConachie H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

Year: 2001

Volume: 43

Issue: 2

Pages: 83-90

Print publication date: 01/01/2001

ISSN (print): 0012-1622

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8749

Publisher: Mac Keith Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0012162201000147

PubMed id: 11221909


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