Speech, expressive language, and verbal cognition of preschool children with cerebral palsy in Iceland

Solveig Sigurdardottir*, Torstein Vik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The aim of this study was to describe speech, expressive language, and verbal cognition of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: A population study included 152 Icelandic children with congenital CP (74 males, 78 females; mean age 5y 5mo, range 4y-6y 6mo). Children who spoke in sentences, phrases, or one-word utterances were categorized as verbal. Speech was classified as normal, mild dysarthria, or severe dysarthria. Cognition was reported as IQ (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - Revised) or developmental quotient (DQ). Results: Most children (81%) had spastic CP and bilateral symptoms (76%); 74 (49%) were at Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level I, 27% at levels II and III, and 24% at levels IV and V (p<0.001). One hundred and twenty-eight children (84%) communicated verbally whereas 24 were nonverbal. Nonverbal status and severe dysarthria were associated with greater motor impairment (GMFCS; p<0.001). Twenty-five children (16%) had severe dysarthria. Most (88%) of the nonverbal children had multiple disabilities compared with 18% of the verbal group (p<0.001). Median (interquartile range) verbal IQ was 93 (73-104) and performance IQ 77 (61-94; p<0.001). Sixty-eight children (45%) had normal verbal cognition and almost a quarter of the children with severe dysarthria had a full-scale IQ/DQ of 70. Interpretation: Most children with CP express sentences and almost half of them have normal verbal IQ. Nonverbal status frequently indicates multiple impairments whereas severe dysarthria may be associated with normal cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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