Cerebral palsy and language
: a systematic review

  • Filipa Pais Gonçalves (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Aim: The aim of this systematic review was to describe the language’sdevelopment in children with cerebral palsy and its association with othervariables, such as the Cerebral Palsy (CP) subtype and the level of GrossMotor Function Classification System (GMFCS).Method: A systematic review was carried out, following the prisma check-list.The databases consulted were PUBMED, SCOPUS and Web of Science.Articles published in other languages, than English, and articles that used onlyfunctional measures to assess expressive language, were excluded. TheSystematic Review Protocol was registered in the PROSPERO Register.Results: A total of 723 publications were found in the PUBMED, SCOPUS andWEB of SCIENCE databases. Of these articles, 374 duplicates were excluded.Most of the included studies were developed in European countries and in thelast 10 years. There were only 2 case-control studies, which compared tipicallydevelopped (TD) children with children with CP, as all the others beingobservational cohort studies, organized either by CP subtype or by otherfunctional classifications. Regarding the evaluated language subdomains, allstudies assessed receptive language and most all of those also assessedexpressive language. Within these two main areas, there was great variability inthe specific domains evaluated, from semantics, phonological awareness,articulation, lexical development.Conclusion: The data found in this systematic review reinforces the ideaproposed by previous researchers that the motor disorders are oftenaccompanied by disturbances in cognition and, in particular, in language. In thestudies where the CP children were compared with TD children, although therewas significant variability among subdomains, the performance was, in general,poorer. In what concerns the association with the GMFCS level and the CPsubtype, all articles showed that as GMFCS level increases, the languageimpairments also increase and the dyskinetic subtype seemed to be the onewith poorer performance in language tasks, results that are in line with previousresearch.
Date of Award29 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMaria Vânia Silva Nunes (Supervisor)


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Language
  • Gross motor function classification system


  • Mestrado em Neuropsicologia

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