Neurodevelopmental outcome in children with cerebral palsy

Objective of research: The primary aim of this paper was to analyse neurodevelopmental outcome in children with cerebral palsy. The second objective was to question the correlation of different kinds of perinatal brain damage and subsequent neurodevelopmental outcome and also to investigate possible differences in neurodevelopment relating to referral to early intervention programs. Subjects and methods: In a prospective study we followed 12 children (5 girls, 7 boys) who had suffered perinatal brain injuries. All children were addressed to the day care center „Little house – Zagreb“ for a habilitation program. For all children perinatal brain damage was documented by medical reports and a neonatal brain ultrasound scan. At the mean age of 6 years and 6 months they underwent assessment of motor and visual development and an assessment of functional capabilities and performance. Results: All children showed clear abnormalities in motor development and visual impairments that influenced the domains of self-care, mobility and social functions. The results also showed a significant difference in neurodevelopmental outcome regarding perinatal brain damage and referral to an early intervention program. Conclusion: The results showed that children with cerebral palsy are in great need of a comprehensive habilitation program. This program requires an active approach which must include facilitation of normal movement and postural achievement, visual, tactile and auditory stimulation and also ensure that the child enjoys environmental and emotional stability. Continual follow up assessment is necessary in order to recognize more specific problems in the neurodevelopmental outcome of these children and also to specify further habilitation programs.

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