Cognitive profiles and visuoperceptual abilities in preterm and term spastic diplegic children with periventricular leukomalacia

Emanuela Pagliano, Ermellina Fedrizzi, Alessandra Erbetta, Sara Bulgheroni, Alessandra Solari, Renata Bono, Elisa Fazzi, Elena Andreucci, Daria Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although relations between the extent of periventricular leukomalacia and neuropsychological performance in preterm children with spastic diplegia have been extensively investigated, studies on term children with spastic diplegia are rare. The authors examined 15 preterm children and 9 term children with spastic diplegia, all of whom had periventricular leukomalacia as a main magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) finding (excluding full-term spastic diplegic children with other MRI findings). Cognitive abilities (Griffith scale) and visuoperceptual abilities (Developmental Test of Visual Perception) were compared in the 2 groups and related to periventricular leukomalacia severity. Cognitive performance was substantially similar in the 2 groups. However, the overall Developmental Test of Visual Perception scores were below normal in the preterm and were normal in the term children; furthermore, visuoperceptual abilities were differentially affected in the preterm children, with visuomotor abilities more compromised than nonmotor visuoperceptual abilities. These children had similar cognitive performance and MRI findings, so the greater visuoperceptual compromise in the preterm group suggests a direct influence of prematurity, which may have adversely influenced the reorganization of visual centers and pathways following the initial developmental insult. The strabismus present in most preterm children would also have contributed to their greater visuoperceptual compromise. The authors conclude that the management of preterm and term children should differ, with concentration on visuoperceptual skills and rehabilitation in the former.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Cognitive abilities
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Sspastic diplegia
  • Visuoperceptual abilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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