Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3180f62bb0
Research Report

Clinical Characteristics of Hypotonia: A Survey of Pediatric Physical and Occupational Therapists

Martin, Kathy PT, DHS; Kaltenmark, Tiffany DPT, PTA; Lewallen, Amanda DPT, ATC, LAT; Smith, Catherine DPT; Yoshida, Aika

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Purpose: This study extended previous work on defining characteristics of children with hypotonia.

Methods: A survey regarding previously identified characteristics of hypotonia, examination tools, interventions, and prognosis was sent to a random sample of 500 physical therapists and 500 occupational therapists.

Results: A total of 268 surveys were returned, for a response rate of 26.8%. Characteristics most frequently observed in children with hypotonia included decreased strength, hypermobile joints, and increased flexibility. Observation was the most commonly cited assessment tool and 85% of those surveyed believe that characteristics of hypotonia improve with therapy.

Conclusions: Despite agreement among physical and occupational therapists on characteristics of hypotonia and potential for improvement, clear clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and quantification of hypotonia have yet to be determined. Research is needed to develop an operational definition of hypotonia, develop valid tests and assess effectiveness of intervention.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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