Objective To examine the neuropsychological profile of children at perinatal risk with or without CP, compare them to each other and to the normative group. It is expected that more specific cognitive deficits will be found in both clinical groups in relation to the normative group, as well as more deficits in children with CP compared to children at perinatal risk without CP.
Design/study groups clinical sample of 46 children with milder CP (the CP group) and 55 children at perinatal risk without CP (the group at risk) in the age range between 5 and 12 years with normal verbal intelligence (according to WISC-III) were examined. The groups are equalized in terms of demographic variables (child’s age and sex; mother’s education) as well as in terms of perinatal variables (gestational age, birth weight, Apgar scores, presence of brain lesion – 78% in each group), and EEG findings at the time of examination.
Main outcome measures Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (NEPSY) has been applied to measure neuropsychological functions, all the core subtests except Phonological Processing.
Results Both clinical groups had significantly lower results in 12 out of 13 measures applied in relation to the normative group: in Auditory and Visual Attention, Speeded Naming, Comprehension of Instructions, Fingertip Tapping, Imitation Hand Positions, Visuomotor Precision, Design Copy, Arrows, Memory for Faces, Memory for Names and Narrative Memory (z-score = -.29 to -1.67 in the CP group and z-score = -.38 to -1.07 in the group at risk). The CP group had lower results in comparison to the group at risk in 5 measures which include a motor component (oral or manual) in performance. The group at risk had worse results in the Memory for Names than the CP group.
Conclusion The children at perinatal risk achieved significantly lower neuropsychological results in comparison to the normative group, regardless of motor deficit (in the most of measures) or any demographic and perinatal variable or EEG findings. It may be concluded that both clinical groups are at risk for specific cognitive deficits. That has significant implications for neuropsychological examination and treatment, where the model of developmental neuropsychological psychotherapy may be applied.
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