Gross and fine motor function and accompanying impairments in cerebral palsy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2006 Jun;48(6):417-23. doi: 10.1017/S0012162206000922.


The aim of this study was to describe and analyze gross and fine motor function and accompanying neurological impairments in children with cerebral palsy (CP) born between 1991 and 1998 in western Sweden. A population-based study comprised 411 children with a diagnosis of CP ascertained at 4 to 8 years of age. Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels were documented in 367 children (205 males, 162 females). Bimanual Fine Motor Function (BFMF) classification levels of 345 of the children and information on learning disability, epilepsy, visual and hearing impairments, and hydrocephalus from 353 children were obtained. For spastic CP, a new classification according to the Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe of uni- and bilateral spastic CP was applied. GMFCS was distributed at Level I in 32%, Level II in 29%, Level III in 8%, Level IV in 15%, and Level V in 16%. The corresponding percentages for BFMF were 30.7%, 31.6%, 12.2%, 11.9%, and 13.6% respectively. Learning disability was present in 40%, epilepsy in 33%, and severe visual impairment in 19% of the children. Motor function differed between CP types. More severe GMFCS levels correlated with larger proportions of accompanying impairments and, in children born at term, to the presence of adverse peri/neonatal events in the form of intracranial haemorrhage/stroke, cerebral infection, and hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. GMFCS Level I correlated positively to increasing gestational age. We conclude that the classification of CP should be based on CP type and motor function, as the two combine to produce an indicator of total impairment load.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / epidemiology
  • Learning Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / classification
  • Motor Skills Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology
  • Walking / physiology