Aim: To estimate the prevalence of cerebral palsy (CP) and the frequency of co-occurring developmental disabilities (DDs), gross motor function (GMF), and walking ability using the largest surveillance DD database in the US.
Methods: We conducted population-based surveillance of 8-year-old children in 2006 (N=142,338), in areas of Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Missouri. This multi-site collaboration involved retrospective record review at multiple sources. We reported CP subtype, co-occurring DDs, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level, and walking ability as well as CP period prevalence by race/ethnicity and sex.
Results: CP prevalence was 3.3 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.1-3.7) per 1000 and varied by site, ranging from 2.9 (Wisconsin) to 3.8 (Georgia) per 1000, 8-year olds (p<0.02). Approximately 81% had spastic CP. Among children with CP, 8% had an autism spectrum disorder and 35% had epilepsy. Using the GMFCS, 38.1% functioned at the highest level (I), with 17.1% at the lowest level (V). Fifty-six percent were able to walk independently and 33% had limited or no walking ability.
Interpretation: Surveillance data are enhanced when factors such as functioning and co-occurring conditions known to affect clinical service needs, quality of life, and health care are also considered.
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