Abstract

Fifteen normal preschool children and 15 preschool children with cerebral palsy were presented with 10 pairs of objects and asked to identify their preference for one of the objects in each of the pairs. Five objects of different textures were used. The children only handled the objects; they did not view them during testing. The children with cerebral palsy chose hard objects significantly more often than they chose soft objects; the normal children had no significant choice preferences. Eleven of the children with cerebral palsy had choice patterns significantly different from those of the normal children. The apparent preference of the children with cerebral palsy for hard objects and their avoidance of soft objects suggests that they may have decreased tactile awareness and need the greater proprioceptive input that hard objects provide. The findings of this study indicate that preschool children with cerebral palsy may be at high risk for somatosensory disorders, which could markedly affect their hand function.

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