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Motor Skills During Adolescence in children with CP

Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology published research stating that adolescent children with cerebral palsy GMFCS Level III, IV and V demonstrated a functional decline in skills which were clinically significant. This longitudinal study followed 657 children with CP using the Gross Motor Function Measure-66. Children with cerebral palsy levels I and II did not experience a functional decline. Children at GMFCS Levels III, IV and V showed a peak in functional skills at ages 7 years 11 months for Level III and 6 years 11 months for Levels IV and V.

As pediatric therapists, can we make a difference in preventing or delaying this functional decline in GMFCS Level III, IV and V through direct therapy and consultation with parents? I would like to hope that we can, but insurance companies don’t pay for hope they want evidence. The good news is that this is important research to share with parents of children with cerebral palsy. We can inform that at GMFCS Level I and II we do not expect to see a significant decline in skills during adolescence. For children who are Levels III, IV and V, we can inform parents to possible expect a decline and work on prevention. Please comment or share your experiences.

Reference: STEVEN E HANNA, PETER L ROSENBAUM, DOREEN J BARTLETT, ROBERT J PALISANO, STEPHEN D WALTER, LISA AVERY, DIANNE J RUSSELL Stability and decline in gross motor function among children and youth with cerebral palsy aged 2 to 21 years Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2009 1469-8749 0012-1622
DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03196.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03196.x

Check out Teaching Motor Skills to Children with Cerebral Palsy digital edition. This is a great book for any pediatric therapist or parent of a child with cerebral palsy.