Visual Perceptual Deficits in Different Types of Cerebral Palsy

Sharna Berelowitz, Denise Franzsen



Introduction: Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have been found to present with visual perceptual impairments (VPI). Research indicates differences in VPI in various subtypes of CP. However, visual perceptual deficits in children with CP has not been investigated in terms of occupational therapy assessment and treatment in a South African context. The purpose of this study was to determine the specific VPI in learners ages 4-18 years with various subtypes of CP attending a school for learners with special needs in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Method: The Test of Visual Perceptual Skills 3rd ed. (TVPS-3) was used to assess 80 learners and their subtest scores and composite scores were compared according to their subtype of CP as well as other demographic variables including age, gender and GMFCS level.

Results: All the subtypes of CP were found to present with VPI, with the right spastic unilateral (hemiplegic) group having the fewest number of impairments and the ataxic group greatest number of impairments. A significant difference in visual discrimination and figure ground scores were found based on the subtype of CP while the Composite Basic Processes scores on the TVPS-3 differed significantly for both the subtypes of CP and gender. No significant differences were found for VPI based on age and GMFCS levels.

Conclusion: Visual perceptual impairments were found in a high percentage of participants with CP with significant differences between the subtypes of CP and according to gender but not for age and GMFCS levels.


Key words: Cerebral Palsy, Visual Perception, TVPS-3, Visual Perceptual Impairment, Occupational Therapy

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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