Parent and Therapist Perceptions of an Intense Model of Physical Therapy

Christy, Jennifer Braswell PT, PhD; Saleem, Naja DPT; Turner, Penny H. DPT; Wilson, Jenny DPT

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181db8151
Research Report

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine parent and therapist perceptions regarding the effect of an intense model of physical therapy for children with cerebral palsy.

Methods: Informants included 5 parents, 5 therapists, and 5 children with cerebral palsy who previously participated in an intense program (ie, strengthening and functional activities 4 hours/day, 5 days/week for 3 weeks). Parents and therapists were interviewed, and children were observed. Data were collected and analyzed using qualitative methodology.

Results: Five common themes emerged, based on perceptions: (1) improvement in motor function, (2) improvement in confidence and independence, (3) stress during the program but a time of no therapy between sessions, (4) increased participation in the community, and (5) fatigue during the program but perceived rapid attainment of goals.

Conclusions: The constructs identified should be considered by clinicians in program development and by researchers for further study.

This qualitative study found themes of perceived improvement in motor function, confidence, and independence; increased participation in the community; perceived rapid attainment of goals; and stress and fatigue during an intense physical therapy program.

Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (Dr Christy); Spain Rehabilitation Center, Birmingham, Alabama (Drs Saleem and Wilson); and Children's Health System, Birmingham, Alabama (Dr Turner).

Correspondence: Jennifer Braswell Christy, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, SHPB 332, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35243 (

This work was completed as part of the DPT program at the University of Alabama, Birmingham for Drs Turner, Saleem, and Wilson.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.