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.