Continued Ambulation Gains Through High School in a Student With Cerebral Palsy: A Case Report

McCoy, Jeanne O'Neil PT, DPT, MS, NCS

Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823525c6
Case Report

Purpose: The purpose of this case report is to describe school-based physical therapy services received throughout high school by a student with diplegic cerebral palsy and to share her functional gains.

Key Points: This previously discharged 15-year-old freshman was re-referred due to a perceived walking regression using long-leg braces/reverse rolling walker and her desire to again try crutches. She subsequently resumed walking, typically 4 days per week at school and progressed to axillary crutches on level surfaces and stairs. Gross Motor Function Measure scores increased from 66.4% freshman year to 78.8% senior year, with the greatest dimension changes in standing (35.9%-69.2%) and walking, running, and jumping (8.3%-25.0%).

Conclusion: School-based physical therapists are uniquely positioned to work with students in natural environments to optimize activity and participation. This report shows that continued ambulation gains in individuals with cerebral palsy are possible throughout adolescence.

In Brief

This case report demonstrates that an adolescent with cerebral palsy can continue to make ambulation gains throughout high school.

Author Information

Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Correspondence: Jeanne O'Neil McCoy, PT, DPT, MS, NCS, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Applied Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy (MC 898), 1919 West Taylor St, 446 AHSB, Chicago, IL 60612 (

This case report was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a (Transition) Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at St Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa, for the author.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.