Communication development of children with motor disorders

From October 2008 to January 2015
Project Leader(s): Dr Lindsay Pennington
Sponsors: NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre, The Children’s Foundation

Children with cerebral palsy often have speech difficulties which affect their quality of life and access to education, social activities and later employment. At present we do not know which children with cerebral palsy will have persisting speech difficulties, or how severe difficulties will be.

We are undertaking a prospective study of all children born in the North East of England between 1 December 2008 to 31 January 2012 who have speech/communication difficulties and cerebral palsy. Children are assessed at 2, 3 and 5 years of age. We measure children's speech, language, cognitive and physical development at these three time points. We also collect information on children's vision, hearing, birth weight, gestational age at birth, type and distribution of motor disorder and neurological insult from case notes.

Together this information will help us to observe patterns in children's development and to investigate if certain developmental patterns predict the acquisition of intelligible speech.


Jennifer Kirby
Visiting Researcher

Dr Lindsay Pennington
Senior Lecturer