Aim: To examine associations between interventions and child characteristics; and enhanced gross motor progress in children with cerebral palsy (CP).
Methods: Prospective cohort study based on 2048 assessments of 442 children (256 boys, 186 girls) aged 2-12 years registered in the Cerebral Palsy Follow-up Program and the Cerebral Palsy Register of Norway. Gross motor progress estimates were based on repeated measures of reference percentiles for the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-66) in a linear mixed model. Mean follow-up time: 2.9 years.
Results: Intensive training was the only intervention factor associated with enhanced gross motor progress (mean 3.3 percentiles, 95% CI: 1.0, 5.5 per period of ≥3 sessions per week and/or participation in an intensive program). Gross motor function was on average 24.2 percentiles (95% CI: 15.2, 33.2) lower in children with intellectual disability compared with others. Except for eating problems (-10.5 percentiles 95% CI: -18.5, -2.4) and ankle contractures by age (-1.9 percentiles 95% CI: -3.6, -0.2) no other factors examined were associated with long-term gross motor progress.
Conclusions: Intensive training was associated with enhanced gross motor progress over an average of 2.9 years in children with CP. Intellectual disability was a strong negative prognostic factor. Preventing ankle contractures appears important for gross motor progress.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy; GMFM-66 percentiles; gross motor function; intensive training; prognosis.