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The relationship between gross motor function and participation restriction in children with cerebral palsy: an exploratory analysis


Suzanne McDonough, B Physio, PhD, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Institute, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland BT37 0QB, UK


Background  Children with cerebral palsy (CP) experience a variety of functional limitations depending on the severity of their condition that impact on their participation in day-to-day activities.

Methods  The gross motor function and participation restrictions experienced by 60 ambulant children with CP (mean age 11.04 years) were assessed using the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-88) and the Lifestyle Assessment Questionnaire – Cerebral Palsy (LAQ-CP).

Results  A significant negative correlation existed between the GMFM-88 and the LAQ-CP (r = −0.52, P < 0.001). Significant relationships were also identified between the GMFM-88 and the physical independence, mobility, economic burden and social integration domains of the LAQ-CP.

Conclusion  In ambulatory children with CP, better physical function is associated with a lesser impact of disability; however, the relationship between function and participation is complex. Measures of participation restriction may assist with goal setting appropriate to the specific needs of the child and family.