Neuropsychological assessment of patients with severe neuromotor and verbal disabilities

M. Sabbadini, R. Bonanni, G. A. Carlesimo, C. Caltagirone

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In people with cerebral palsy, severe neuromotor disability and communication problems make standard neuropsychological tests impossible. Therefore, alternative methods and specific aids must be developed to allow patients to autonomously respond to the examiner's questions. In the present individuals and study, a neuropsychological evaluation was made of a group of eight individuals with cerebral palsy, and severe neuromotor and verbal disabilities, and a group of 19 normal subjects matched for mental age. The tests were administered using an autonomous selection method in which the patient selects the various responses through specific aids without the examiner's interference. Patients' group performances in visuo-spatial and memory tests were on average lower than the mean of the control group. In the verbal domain, patients' scores were comparable to those of normal children in all tests but one assessing the comprehension of syntactically complex sentences. An analysis of the patients' individual performances also revealed heterogenous cognitive profiles: some patients presented a homogeneously distributed cognitive impairment and others a more selective one. This finding is particularly important for planning differentiated learning programmes, and identifying suitable communicative instruments in rehabilitative and educational settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Alternative communication
  • Anarthria
  • Augmentative communication
  • Autonomous selection method
  • Dysarthria
  • Neuromotor disability
  • Neuropsychological evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Education
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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