Stability of the Gross Motor Function Classification System, Manual Ability Classification System, and Communication Function Classification System

There are three classification systems for Cerebral palsy (CP). The systems are Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), Manual Ability Classification System (MACS), and Communication Function Classification System (CFCS). The systems were developed to classify children and adults with CP for the purpose of effective communication, setting goals, informing decisions on services and intervention and applying research findings to practice. Each system has different levels to represent differences in function that are meaningful in daily life:

The GMFCS was made for children with CP aged 12 years and younger. Function is classified based on environmental and personal considerations.

The MACS was developed for children with CP, aged 4 to 18 years. This system is classified based on the ability to handle objects during daily activities.

Lastly, CFCS was developed for use with individuals with CP, aged 2 years and older. Function is classified based on every day performances such as communicating, gestures, facial expression and eye gaze.

In this study, 664 children with CP participated to determine the stability of GMFCS, MACS and CFCS using a process for consensus classification between parents and therapists. The result shows that more than half of the levels of GMFCS, MACS and CFCS functions did not change over the 1-2 year intervals.

"Our perspective is that the GMFCS, MACS, and CFCS are complementary and collectively provide valuable information for shared decisions on goals, services, and interventions for children and young people with CP."