WISC-V motor-free cognitive profile and predictive factors in adolescents with cerebral palsy

Monika Coceski, Darren R. Hocking, Hisham M. Abu-Rayya, Sarah Sherwell, Susan M. Reid, Dinah S. Reddihough, Jacquie Wrennall, Robyn Stargatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The most commonly used intelligence tests – the Wechsler Scales – do not provide standardised procedures for assessing children with motor impairment, and as a result, may underestimate the intelligence quotient (IQ) of young people with CP. Aims: To characterise a motor-free cognitive profile of adolescents with CP using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth edition (WISC-V) and explore the influence of clinical factors on cognitive abilities. Methods and procedure: The WISC-V was used to assess cognitive abilities in 70 adolescents (M = 14 years 6 months, SD = 10 months). Sixty-six adolescents (Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) Level I, n = 26; II, n = 23; III, n = 15; IV, n = 1; V, n = 1) obtained either a Motor-free IQ or index score using the motor-free method. Outcomes and results: MFIQ and index scores fell below the normative data and rates of borderline and impaired cognitive abilities were significantly higher in the CP group. Scores showed an uneven cognitive profile with a relative strength in verbal abilities. Severity of motor impairment and small for gestational age (SGA) were associated with lower IQ scores. A history of seizures was related to lower verbal abilities. Conclusions and implications: Cognitive abilities of adolescents with CP are significantly below expectation compared to normative data. Severity of motor impairment, SGA, and seizures need to be recognised by health professionals as risk factors for cognitive impairment. A substantial proportion of adolescents showed borderline cognitive abilities, constituting a group with CP which are relatively neglected in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103934
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A special thank you to the children and parents who took part in this study. Funding for the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register was gratefully received from The Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust , the Victorian Department Health and Human Services , and the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation . Infrastructure support was provided by the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adolescents
  • Assessment
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive
  • WISC-V

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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