Purpose: The purpose of this pilot randomized controlled study was to identify any effects of power wheelchairs on the development and function of young children with severe motor impairments.
Methods: Participants were 28 children with various diagnoses, aged 14 to 30 months when they entered the study. The Battelle Developmental Inventory (BDI), Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory, and Early Coping Inventory were administered at entry and after 12 months.
Results: The on-protocol analysis comparing median change scores showed the experimental groups' BDI receptive communication scores, and their Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory mobility functional skills, mobility caregiver assistance, and self-care caregiver scores improved significantly more than the control group's scores. An intention-to-treat analysis upheld the findings and revealed an additional difference between the groups' BDI total score.
Conclusion: The results support use of power wheelchairs with children as young as age 14 months to enhance development and function, although additional research is needed.