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Communication ability and communication methods in children with cerebral palsy

Journal article
Authors E. Kristoffersson
Annika Dahlgren Sandberg
P. Holck
Published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
ISSN 0012-1622
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords function classification-system, gross motor function, manual ability, individuals, macs, intervention, reliability, validity, version, Neurosciences & Neurology, Pediatrics
Subject categories Pediatrics, Neurosciences


Aim To investigate if communication ability and method were related to each other and to age, sex, gross motor function, or manual ability in children with cerebral palsy. Method This cross-sectional study used data registered in the Swedish Cerebral Palsy Surveillance Program registry, involving 3000 children aged 0 to 18 years. Pearson's chi(2) test and Spearman's correlation were used to test associations between variables. Results Communication ability and method were related to each other and to age, gross motor function, and manual ability. Aided communication methods were more frequently used among older children. The more functional the communication was, the less use of unaided communication occurred. Different communication methods were used across all Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) levels. Speech was most common in more functional levels, used by 72% of the children. Forty-five per cent were considered effective communicators in all environments. For classification of communication level and method, some recurring registration errors were made by the raters. Interpretation Some raters may need clarification on interpretations of CFCS instructions. Results indicate that children should be presented to aided augmentative and alternative communication and manual signs earlier and to a greater extent.

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