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Br J Educ Psychol. 1998 Mar;68 ( Pt 1):39-51.

The prevalence and correlates of specific learning difficulties in a representative sample of children with hemiplegia.

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Children's Department, Maudsley Hospital, London, UK.



Children with hemiplegia have cerebral palsy affecting one side of the body due to damage to the opposite side of the brain. An investigation of the association between hemiplegia and specific learning difficulties (SpLD) provides a unique window on body-mind links and left brain/right brain differences.


The present study investigated the prevalence and correlates of SpLDs in children with hemiplegia.


A representative sample of 149 London children with hemiplegia aged between 6 and 10 included 59 children whose cognitive abilities and predicted academic ability were within the average range.


SpLDs were defined by ability-achievement discrepancy analysis. Differences between children with and without SpLDs were explored with a between-groups design.


Children with hemiplegia had significantly more SpLDs than expected, with 36 per cent of these children having at least one SpLD. Children with and without SpLDs were similar in intelligence and demographic background, but the children with SpLDs had significantly more severe neurological impairments and a significantly higher rate of emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBDs) than comparison children.


Three typical case studies are described and recommendations made for the early identification and remediation of SpLDs in children with hemiplegia.

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