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One-third of school-aged children with cerebral palsy have neuropsychiatric impairments in a population-based study

Journal article
Authors Magnus Påhlman
Christopher Gillberg
Kate Himmelmann
Published in Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Volume 108
Issue 11
Pages 2048-2055
ISSN 0803-5253
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics
Pages 2048-2055
Language en
Keywords Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Autism spectrum disorder, Cerebral palsy, Children, Impairments
Subject categories Pediatrics, Neurosciences


Aim: To describe motor function and associated impairments, particularly autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in school-aged children with cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: Population-based study of all children with CP born 1999–2006 from the county of Västra Götaland, Sweden; 264 children (141 males, 123 females). Information was obtained from the CP Register of western Sweden (data collected at 4–8 years of age) and all medical records at 10–17 years of age. Results: Cerebral palsy was spastic in 76%, dyskinetic in 17% and ataxic in 7% of all children. Sixty-three per cent were independent walkers. Associated impairments were present in 75%. Vision was impaired in 19%, hearing in 8% and speech in 54%. Intellectual disability (ID) was present in 53% and epilepsy in 41%. ID had increased from 42% to 53% since preschool-age. Neuropsychiatric impairments were present in 32% of the children; ASD in 18%; and ADHD in 21%. All impairments, except for ASD and ADHD, increased with more severe motor impairment. Conclusion: Three in four school-aged children with CP have associated impairments, underscoring the need to broadly assess every child. The high rate of ASD and ADHD points to the importance of in-depth studies of such impairments in CP. ©2019 Foundation Acta Pædiatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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