Motor impairments in young children with cerebral palsy: relationship to gross motor function and everyday activities

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2004 Sep;46(9):580-9. doi: 10.1017/s0012162204000994.


In this study we assessed the distribution of spasticity, range of motion (ROM) deficits, and selective motor control problems in children with cerebral palsy (CP), and examined how these impairments relate to each other and to gross motor function and everyday activities. Ninety-five children (55 males, 40 females; mean age 58 months, SD 18 months, range 25 to 87 months) were evaluated with the modified Ashworth scale (MAS), passive ROM, the Selective Motor Control scale (SMC), the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM), and the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI). Types of CP were hemiplegia (n=19), spastic diplegia (n=40), ataxic diplegia (n=4), spastic quadriplegia (n=16), dyskinetic (n=9), and mixed type (n=7). Severity spanned all five levels of the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). The findings highlight the importance of measuring spasticity and ROM in several muscles and across joints. Wide variability of correlations of MAS, ROM, and SMC indicates a complex relationship between spasticity, ROM, and selective motor control. Loss of selective control seemed to interfere with gross motor function more than the other impairments. Further analyses showed that motor impairments were only one component among many factors that could predict gross motor function and everyday activities. Accomplishment of these activities was best predicted by the child's ability to perform gross motor tasks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / complications
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / etiology
  • Joint Diseases / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / etiology
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index