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Pediatr Neurol. 2011 Mar;44(3):207-13. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2010.10.004.

Sequence learning in cerebral palsy.

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Department of Child Neuropsychiatry and Neurorehabilitation, E. Medea Scientific Institute, Bosisio Parini, Lecco, Italy.


We investigated sequence-learning skills in 64 children with cerebral palsy (aged 4.01-14.7 years; 49 with bilateral, two with dystonic, and 13 with unilateral cerebral palsy), compared with a matched control group of typically developing children. Participants' motor and handling abilities were classified according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System and the Manual Ability Classification System. General cognitive, visuoperceptual, and constructive abilities were assessed. Participants performed an experimental computerized version of Corsi Span, followed by a normalized Supraspan sequence. Controls outperformed cerebral palsy participants in visual memory and accuracy. Participants with cerebral palsy were likelier to fail the test (cerebral palsy, 37.5%; control subjects, 5%) and obtain overall lower scores. Sequence learning skills were not related to motor and handling impairments. Failure to learn sequences resulted in an overall lower functioning profile regarding visuoperceptual, verbal, and performance abilities. The ability to fix sequences seemed to split the cerebral palsy group into an overall high-functioning group (successful in sequence learning) and low-functioning (failing) group. Results are discussed in light of a specific implicit memory impairment and the abnormal development of white matter frontostriatal and parietal connections.

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