Title: Longitudinal development of communication in children with cerebral palsy between 24 and 53 months: Predicting speech outcomes
Legend: (Left) Longitudinally-assessed word intelligibility score (%) by age and time since child was first able to speak. Thin lines are individual children. Thick lines are group means as a function of time (months) since child was first able to speak. (Right) Longitudinally-assessed longest utterance produced by age and time since child was first able to speak. Thin lines are individual children. Thick lines are group means as a function of time (months) since child was first able to speak.
Citation: Hustad KC, Allison KM, Sakash A, McFadd E, Broman AT, Rathouz PJ. (2016). Longitudinal development of communication in children with cerebral palsy between 24 and 53 months: Predicting speech outcomes. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 28:1-8, DOI: 10.1080/17518423.2016.1239135
Abstract: Objective: To determine whether communication at 2 years predicted communication at 4 years in children with cerebral palsy (CP), and whether the age a child first produces words imitatively influences change in speech production. Method: 30 children (15 males) with CP participated and were seen 5 times at 6-month intervals between 24 and 53 months (mean age at time 1 = 26.9 months (SD 1.9)). Variables were communication classification at 24 and 53 months, age that children were first able to produce words imitatively, single word intelligibility, and longest utterance produced. Results: Communication at 2 years was highly predictive of abilities at 4 years. Speaking earlier led to faster gains in intelligibility and length of utterance and better outcomes at 53 months than speaking later. Conclusion: Inability to speak at 24 months indicates greater speech and language difficulty at 53 months and a strong need for early communication intervention.
About the Lab: The Hustad laboratory is dedicated to the study of communication development in children with cerebral palsy (CP). CP is the most common cause of severe motor disability in children, and it affects 25 per 10,000 in the US. Although motor impairment is the primary defining feature of CP, other issues such as intellectual disabilities, seizure disorder, and learning disabilities often co-occur. In the past, studies have suggested that up to 60% of children with CP may have communication problems, but the Hustad laboratory’s work has revealed that this figure may be considerably higher (up to 75%). Prior to this work, however, the exact nature of communication problems in children with CP had never been comprehensively examined. As a result, little is known about the nature of speech, language, and cognitive problems and their co-occurrence with gross motor, and fine motor problems. One result is that data-based prognoses for communication development are unknown, and many children who have CP do not receive appropriate speech and language intervention until they enter preschool, missing critical early intervention opportunities.