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JAMA. 2002 Sep 18;288(11):1357-63.

Prognosis for gross motor function in cerebral palsy: creation of motor development curves.

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Department of Pediatrics, School of Rehabilitation Science, CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 1C7.



Lack of a valid classification of severity of cerebral palsy and the absence of longitudinal data on which to base an opinion have made it difficult to consider prognostic issues accurately.


To describe patterns of gross motor development of children with cerebral palsy by severity, using longitudinal observations, as a basis for prognostic counseling with parents and for planning clinical management.


Longitudinal cohort study of children with cerebral palsy, stratified by age and severity of motor function and observed serially for up to 4 years during the period from 1996 to 2001.


Nineteen publicly funded regional children's ambulatory rehabilitation programs in Ontario.


A total of 657 children aged 1 to 13 years at study onset, representing the full spectrum of clinical severity of motor impairment in children with cerebral palsy.


Severity of cerebral palsy, classified with the 5-level Gross Motor Function Classification System; function, formally assessed with the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM).


Based on a total of 2632 GMFM assessments, 5 distinct motor development curves were created; these describe important and significant differences in the rates and limits of gross motor development among children with cerebral palsy by severity. There is substantial within-stratum variation in gross motor development.


Evidence-based prognostication about gross motor progress in children with cerebral palsy is now possible, providing parents and clinicians with a means to plan interventions and to judge progress over time. Further work is needed to describe motor function of adolescents with cerebral palsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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