Executive functions and drawing in young children with cerebral palsy: Comparisons with typical development

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Child Neuropsychology
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Freire T.C.
Osorio A.A.C.
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.There is evidence that school-aged children with cerebral palsy (CP) may present deficits in executive functions (EF) greater than would be expected considering their intellectual ability. However, no studies have focused on characterizing EF in this group at an earlier critical period–the preschool years. Furthermore, and given evidence from typically-developing (TD) children, deficits in EF are associated with potential detrimental effects on social and educational development–which can include drawing. Our aim was to compare preschool children with CP, matched in chronological age and intellectual ability with a group of TD children, regarding their executive functioning and drawing abilities. In addition, we examined the relationships between these variables in each of the groups. Twenty-eight children were evaluated in executive functions and drawing tasks. Differences were found in some aspects of cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control, but not in working memory. Additionally, the quality of the drawings was significantly poorer in the CP group. In the TD group, there was an association between greater inhibitory control (but not cognitive flexibility or working memory) and drawing quality. In the CP group, although non-significant, medium-sized correlations were observed between drawing and several aspects of executive functioning. Overall, our results suggest more similarities than differences in the executive functioning of children with CP (and preserved cognitive ability) and TD children. However, there were still important between-group differences in their drawing abilities. There was also a distinct pattern of associations between drawing and executive functions in the clinical group.
Assuntos Scopus
Art , Cerebral Palsy , Child , Child Development , Child, Preschool , Executive Function , Female , Humans , Male , Memory, Short-Term
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