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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2010 Jan;52(1):66-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03454.x. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Probability of walking, wheeled mobility, and assisted mobility in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy.

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Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19102-1192, USA.



Our aim was to describe how the probability of walking, wheeled mobility, and assisted mobility changes with environmental setting and age in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP).


The parents of a population-based sample of 642 children and adolescents (360 males, 282 females; age range 16mo-21y) reported their children's mobility at home, school, and outdoors at 6- or 12-month intervals a mean of 5.2 times. Generalized mixed-effects analyses were used to model the probabilities.


By age 3 years, children with motor function classified as level I according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) walked in all three settings. Children/adolescents classified as level V used assisted mobility, with a small number using wheeled mobility. In the case of children classified as GMFCS level II, the probability of walking varied with the environmental setting, which, at age 18, is outdoors 90% of the time. Among children classified as GMFCS level III, the probability of walking was highest at age 9 at school (68%), and at age 18 was approximately 50% in all three settings. Among children/adolescents rated as GMFCS level IV, the probability of wheeled mobility increased with age and, at age 18, 57% of mobility took place outdoors.


The results provide evidence that age and environmental setting influence method of mobility of children/adolescents with CP. The method that is preferred in one setting may not be preferred in another setting or at another age.

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