Section Information: Abstracts of Platform and Poster Presentations for the 2005 Combined Sections Meeting: Poster Presentations
PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose of this study was to determine if hippotherapy has an effect on the general functional development of children with cerebral palsy. It was hypothesized that functional gain, as measured by the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) and the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM), would be greater during 10 weeks of hippotherapy than during the 10 weeks that preceded or followed the hippotherapy program.
NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: A convenience sample of eleven children with cerebral palsy was recruited; ages were 2.3–6.8 years at baseline (mean 3.9, sd 1.4).
MATERIALS/METHODS: This was a repeated measures design with two pretests and two posttests every ten weeks using the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory ( PEDI) and the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) as outcome measures. Subjects received hippotherapy once a week for ten weeks between pretest 2 and posttest 1. Data analysis compared the test scores on the GMFM and PEDI before and after hippotherapy.
RESULTS: There was a high degree of correlation between the PEDI and GMFM scores, Pearson product correlation s = 0.729 to 0.812. One-way ANOVA of group mean scores with repeated measures was significant, P < 0.05, for all PEDI subscales and all GMFM dimensions except lying/rolling. Post hoc analysis with Tukey’s test for honest significant difference on the PEDI and GMFM total measures as well as GMFM crawling/kneeling and PEDI social skills subtests was statistically significant between pretest 2 and posttest 1.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that hippotherapy has a positive effect on the functional movement of children with cerebral palsy.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Hippotherapy appears to be a viable treatment strategy and a means of achieving functional outcomes in children with cerebral palsy although specific functional skills were not investigated.