Gross motor function in cerebral palsy: the association with age, motor type and topographical distribution

  • Adebimpe O Obembe Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Olubusola E Johnson Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Morenike C Ola Obafemi Awolowo University
Keywords: physiotherapy, rehabilitation, cerebral palsy, children, motor function, disability


Background: Cerebral palsy is a major cause of disability in children and information about factors influencing prognosis of gross motor function is necessary to establish realistic physiotherapy treatment goals.

Objectives: To determine the association of gross motor function of children with cerebral palsy with age, motor type, topographical distribution.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of children with cerebral seen at the outpatient physiotherapy departments of selected hospitals and at the special schools for children with special needs in Osun, Nigeria. Gross motor function ability was categorized using the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS).

Results: A total of 154 children (96 males and 58 females) aged 9 months 12 years (mean 5.62 4.28 years) were recruited in this study. Twenty participants (13%) had severe deficits (GMFCS level V), 54 (35.1%) had moderate deficits (GMFCS level III) while 8 participants (5.2%) had mild deficits (GMFCS level I). Based on topographical distributions and motor type, many of the participants had quadriplegia (67.5%) and spastic subtype (71.4%) respectively. There was a significant difference in the gross motor function ability among the different age groups. Gross motor function ability had significant associations with age (?= .620, p = .004), motor type (?=.484, p =.031) and topographical distribution (?=.239, p=.020).

Conclusion: This study concluded that age, motor type and topographical distribution are factors associated with gross motor function of children with cerebral palsy. This may have implications in guiding prognosis, improving the strategies of physiotherapy interventions and counseling families of these children.

Author Biographies

Adebimpe O Obembe, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Dept of Medical Rehabilitation, Senior lecturer
Olubusola E Johnson, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Dept of Medical Rehabilitation, Senior lecturer
Morenike C Ola, Obafemi Awolowo University
Dept of Medical Rehabilitation


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How to Cite
Obembe, A. O., Johnson, O. E., & Ola, M. C. (2013). Gross motor function in cerebral palsy: the association with age, motor type and topographical distribution. Nigerian Journal of Medical Rehabilitation, 16(2).
Research Articles