Functional communication in children with cerebral palsy
Poster presentatie op conferentie Background: Assessments of functional communication skills of children with cerebral palsy (CP), classified with the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS), often differ between the child's school teacher and the speech language therapist (SLT). Assessment by the SLT is usually based on observations in a clinical setting, which may not be representative of the functional communication skills in daily life. This study evaluated the inter-rater agreement of the CFCS assessed by the school teacher and SLT before and after observation of a communicative situation in the classroom. Methods: Functional communication of 35 children with CP (4 to 18 years; 26 with Alternative and Augmentative Communication, AAC) was classified by the own SLT and teacher using the CFCS. SLT's performed two assessments: the first without additional instructions and the second after observation of the child during a communicative situation in the classroom. For both assessments of the SLT inter-rater agreement on CFCS-level between SLT and teacher was determined using Cohen's weighted kappa statistics. Results: For the whole group, inter-rater reliability was 0.6 before observation in de classroom and 0.7 after observation. In the group without AAC weighted K was 0.67 for both assessments. In the group with AAC weighted K increased from 0.2 to 0.61. Interpretation The increased inter-rater agreement of CFCS classification between teacher and SLT after observation in the classroom, especially for children with AAC, emphasizes the need for professionals to base their CFCS assessment on observation of functional communication in everyday situations.