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Minerva Pediatrica 2020 April;72(2):79-84

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.05237-4


language: English

Are perceptual disorder signs in diplegic cerebral palsied children stable over time? A retrospective cohort analysis

Silvia ALBORESI 1, 2 , Alice SGHEDONI 3, Giulia BORELLI 2, Stefania COSTI 1, Laura BECCANI 2, Rita NEVIANI 2, Adriano FERRARI 1, 2

1 Department of Surgery, Dentistry, and Morphological Sciences with regard to Transplant Oncology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2 Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit for Severe Developmental Disabilities (UDGEE), Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy; 3 Unit of Neuropsychiatry, Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy

BACKGROUND: A group of diplegic cerebral palsied (CP) children presents six precise signs that can be easily observed during clinical examinations, physiotherapy sessions and everyday activities. These signs are: startle reaction, upper limbs in startle position, averted-eye gaze, grimaces, eye blinking and posture freezing.
METHODS: In a population of 32 diplegic CP children (aged 1-8 years) perceptual signs were retrospectively identified through videos to verify their stability in the same child over time.
RESULTS: Startle reaction, upper limb in startle position and posture freezing were the most frequently observed signs and the easiest to recognize with the highest agreement in both observations (P<0.001). Eye signs (eye blinking and averted-eye gaze) were more difficult to detect in our recordings.
CONCLUSIONS: Signs of perceptual disorders were present in our sample of diplegic CP children from the second year of age and could still be observed after 1- to 3-year intervals, demonstrating they remain unaltered over time. Furthermore, if absent in the first observation, they did not appear later on. CP children with these perceptual signs could represent a new clinical entity, which we are currently describing and defining.

KEY WORDS: Cerebral palsy; Perceptual disorders; Startle reflex; Child

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