ASHA journals
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Communication in children with CP (McFadd & Hustad, 2020)

journal contribution
posted on 2020-05-27, 15:07 authored by Emily D. McFadd, Katherine C. Hustad
Purpose: This study seeks to determine how speech-language impairments relate to the frequency and diversity of communication modes and functions produced by children with cerebral palsy (CP) during interactions with their mothers.
Method: We studied 40 children with CP (Mage = 62 months) comprising three groups: those who were unable to speak and had anarthria (n = 15), those with speech motor impairment and language comprehension impairment (SMI-LCI; n = 15), and those with speech motor impairment and typical language comprehension (SMI-LCT; n = 10). Mother–child play interactions were coded for child modes and functions. Generalized linear regression models were used to examine the relationship between profile group and frequencies of communication modes and functions.
Results: Results indicated groups SMI-LCI and SMI-LCT had significantly higher mean frequencies of vocalizations, vocalizations + gestures, comments, initiations, and requests than the group of those who were unable to speak and had anarthria. All children used vocalizations primarily, though these vocalizations were often not understood. SMI-LCI and SMI-LCT differed on two measures: frequency of gestures and frequency of initiations. The majority of children in this sample did not have access to augmentative and alternative communication devices.
Conclusion: Results of this study highlight the need for parent-mediated interventions for children with CP that emphasize multimodal communication tailored to impairment profiles.

Supplemental Material S1. General guidelines for child coding.

Supplemental Material S2. Descriptive results showing the mean frequencies, standard deviations and total frequencies of all types of communication mode and function combinations for each group, allowing for examination of mode/function relationships. ANAR = anarthria, SMI-LCI = speech motor impairment, language comprehension impairment, SMI-LCT = speech motor impairment, typical language comprehension.

McFadd, E. D., & Hustad, K. C. (2020). Communication modes and functions in children with cerebral palsy. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This study was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC009411. Support was also provided by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant U54 HD090256, awarded to the Waisman Center.