Communication Development and Cerebral Palsy


Cerebral palsy can affect the movements movements needed for vocalisation, speech, facial expression and gestures. At present there is very little information about which children with motor disorders will have communication problems. So, when parents ask how their child will communicate therapists and doctors can’t answer their question and have to take a wait and see approach.

We are studying the communication development of 120 young children with motor disorders who live in the north east of England and northern Cumbria. We see the children at 2, 3 and 5 years of age and measure their speech, language and communication development. We also collect other information about the children’s development and early medical history. We use this information to see if there are patterns in children’s communication development and if we can predict: Which children will have communication problems; How severe children’s communication difficulties will be.

The study will help families in the future who have children with motor disorders. It will enable therapists and doctors to give advice to parents early in children’s lives about their potential communication development. It will also help therapists develop individualised speech and language therapy programmes from infancy.

Findings so far

We have now collected all the information for this study and are currently analysing the data. 

Who is involved in this study?

The Principal Investigator for this study is Dr Lindsay Pennington

‌Lindsay Pennington

Also involved in the project from the Neurodevelopment and Disability team are:

Jennifer Kirby

  • Speech and Language Therapist

From outside the team are:

More information        


Call: 0191 282 1360

Other research

Communication development and cerebral palsy sits within the 'Understanding neurodisability' and the 'Lifecourse studies of neurodevelopmental disorders' themes.

If you are looking for other research linked to Cerebral Palsy incl. Hemiplegia, Childhood Neurodisability or Speech, Language and Communication, please view the relevant conditions and topics page.