Purpose: To describe the level of functioning of adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy (CP) and study determinants of their level of functioning.
Method: In the CP Transition study, adolescents and young adults aged 16-20 years, diagnosed with CP without severe learning disabilities (n =103) participated. In this group we assessed subject characteristics, i.e., age, type of CP, gross motor function (GMFCS), level of education as well as outcome measures on functioning in daily activities and social participation (Life Habits questionnaire, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale, Functional Independence Measure). Multivariate regression analyses were performed.
Results: About 20-30% of the participants encountered restrictions in daily activities (mobility, self-care, nutrition) and social participation (taking responsibility, community living, leisure activities and employment). The GMFCS level, level of education, and age proved to be important determinants of functioning in daily activities and social participation, explaining 70% and 66% of the variance in outcome respectively.
Conclusion: A significant number of adolescents and young adults with CP without severe learning disabilities are restricted in daily activities and social participation. These problems are mainly attributable to restricted gross motor functioning, a low level of education and younger age.