Prevalence of cerebral palsy, co-occurring autism spectrum disorders, and motor functioning - Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, USA, 2008

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014 Jan;56(1):59-65. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12268. Epub 2013 Oct 1.


Aim: The aim of this study was to report the prevalence and characteristics of children with cerebral palsy (CP).

Method: Children with CP (n=451) were ascertained by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a population-based, record-review surveillance system monitoring CP in four areas of the USA. Prevalence was calculated as the number of children with CP among all 8-year-old children residing in these areas in 2008. Motor function was categorized by Gross Motor Function Classification System level and walking ability. Co-occurring autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and epilepsy were ascertained using ADDM Network surveillance methodology.

Results: The period prevalence of CP for 2008 was 3.1 per 1000 8-year-old children (95% confidence interval 2.8-3.4). Approximately 58% of children walked independently. Co-occurring ASD frequency was 6.9% and was higher (18.4%) among children with non-spastic CP, particularly hypotonic CP. Co-occurring epilepsy frequency was 41% overall, did not differ by ASD status or CP subtype, and was highest (67%) among children with limited or no walking ability.

Interpretation: The prevalence of CP in childhood from US surveillance data has remained relatively constant, in the range of 3.1 to 3.6 per 1000, since 1996. The higher frequency of ASD in non-spastic than in spastic subtypes of CP calls for closer examination.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / complications
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / complications
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / epidemiology*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Spasticity
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Registries
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Walking