Clinical characteristics of children and young adults with CP living in NI – function and other associated impairments.
Frequency of GMFCS levels for 5-19 year olds
The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) is classification system with 5 levels that describe general mobility and function of children and young people with CP. It particularly focuses on sitting, walking, and wheeled mobility.
The distribution of GMFCS among children living in NI is:
- 25% Level I
- 41% Level II
- 9% Level III
- 9% Level IV
- 17% Level V
Mild forms of CP are more common (GMFCS Levels I to III). Up to 75% of children and young people are able to walk, most of them without the use of an aid or assistive device (e.g. walker, crutches or a stick; GMFCS Level II).
While there is some small variation in the proportion children by Trust of residence and GMFCS levels these differences are not statistically significant (p>0.05).
Arm function for 5 - 19 year olds
The distribution by arm function in children and young people with CP living in NI is:
- 35% have no problems with arm function
- 34% have some difficulty using their two hands together but can get dress
- 15% are physically incapable of putting on a vest or t-shirt but can feed themselves with one or other hand
- 16% are physically incapable of putting on a vest or t-shirt or feed themselves
Presence of associated impairments in 5-19 year olds
Almost half of the children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 19 have at least one other significant co-impairment in conjunction with motor impairment.
Impairments affecting eating, drinking, swallowing:
- 16%have problems with swallowing (affecting eating and drinking)
- 16% have problems with excessive drooling
- 19% have problems with feeding (although we did not systematically collect this variable)
- 40% have intellectual impairment in the IQ<70 range; of these 50% of have severe impairment
- 40% have problems with communication; of these 50% use speech and 50% use speech and formal methods, formal methods only or have no communication.
- 35% have visual impairment; of these 71% have normal/near normal vision, 12% have moderate impairment and 17% have severe to profound impairment.
- 23% have problems with seizures/epilepsy (in the 12 months prior to assessment).