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Copyright 16-003

Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS)

Gross motor skills are those which require whole body movement and involve large muscles of the body to perform everyday functions such as standing, walking, running jumping, etc.


The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) is a 5-level classification system that describes the gross motor function of children and youth with cerebral palsy on the basis of their self-initiated movement with particular emphasis on sitting, walking, and wheeled mobility. This tool was developed by Drs. Robert Palisano, Peter Rosenbaum, Doreen Bartlett, and Michael Livingston.

Distinctions between classification levels are based on functional abilities, the need for assistive technology (walkers, crutches, canes, wheeled mobility), and quality of movement. The focus of the GMFCS is on determining which level best represents the child’s present abilities and limitations in gross motor function. Emphasis is on usual performance in home, school, and community settings.

The Expanded and Revised version (GMFCS – E&R) contains five age bands ranging from under 2 years old to 18 years old. The use of the GMFCS – E&R has relied upon a health professional to classify a child. Illustrations for the GMFCS – E&R have been developed to help communicate with parents. The GMFCS Family and Self Report Questionnaire presents an option for parent involvement in classifying children’s motor abilities and is available in four age groups ranging from 2 to 18 years old.

The GMFCS tools have applications for clinical practice, research, teaching and administration. They are also widely available in a number of languages.

Therapeutic Areas

  • Gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy


  • Academic studies
  • Evaluation use
  • Clinical trials


  • 20+ validated translations


  • GMFCS – E&R
  • GMFCS Family & Self Report
  • GMFCS Descriptors & Illustrations



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