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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
Section Information: Abstracts of Platform and Poster Presentations for the 2005 Combined Sections Meeting: Poster Presentations

THE PERFORMANCES OF CHILDREN ON THE STANDARDIZED WALKING OBSTACLE COURSE (SWOC)

Kott, K; Held, S L.

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Author Information

Physical Therapy, Hampton University, Hampton, VA, USA (Kott)

Physical Therapy, Daemen College, Amherst, NY, USA (Held)

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: This study describes the sample of children with typical development, reports performances, and indicates the best predictors for the conditions on the SWOC.1

NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: Three hundred fifty-nine children (typical development) completed the SWOC (52% females, 2 yrs 4 mos-15 yrs 11 mos; mean 6 yrs 10 mos (2 yrs 8 mos.), 31.0–71.0 inches; mean 49.5 in (7.4 in.), and 21–160 lbs. mean 63.4 lbs (26.4 lbs). Sixty percent had Body Mass Indexes (BMI) within 5%-85% for their age and gender. Six percent were underweight (BMI <5%), 17% at risk for being overweight (BMI 85%-95%) and 16% overweight(BMI >95%).2 Children were 76% Caucasians, 18% African American, 3% Asian American, and 1% each Hispanic, Native American, and other. Eight-four percent of the children were right handed, 14% left handed and 1% preferred neither. Sample represents the break down generally reported.4

MATERIALS/METHODS: Child’s height and weight measured, hand preference determined, and demographic data recorded. Children randomly assigned a condition to start (two trials each) walking 1) arms free, 2) carrying a lunch tray with place setting, and 3) wearing shaded glasses. SWOC is 12.2 m (39.5 feet) long and 0.9 m (3 feet) wide angled path chair with armrests one end and chair without arms at other, surface changes (shag rug, colorful mat), and obstacles (large trash can, standard crutch. (See Figure) Time and number of steps to complete the course, stumbles (any loss of balance or body contact with an obstacle), and/or steps off the path (all or part of the foot touching the floor along side the carpeted path) recorded.

RESULTS: Means presented in Table 1. No significant differences between genders. Frequencies for ‘no stumbles’ on conditions 1, 2, 3 were 94, 84, and 91% respectively. Frequencies for ‘no steps off the path’ on conditions 1,2,3 were 80, 40, and 71% respectively. All correlations were negative; most significant. (See Table 2) Results for the significant stepwise regression presented in Table 3. Predictors for number of steps (60, 67 and 57% of variance for condition 1,2,3 respectively) are the combination of height, weight, and BMI (also age conditions 2 and 3). Predictors for time (18, 45 and 19% of variance for conditions 1,2, 3 respectively) are the combination of height, weight, and BMI. Current variables had very low variances for number of steps off the path and number of stumbles.

CONCLUSIONS: Boys and girls perform the same. Typical children walked steadily under all conditions despite age. Number of steps goes down as children get taller; age, weight, and BMI also part of the equation to predict performances. Amount of time goes down most significantly as children get taller and heavier, tempered by BMI (determines the relevance of weight).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results support validity of the SWOC as a tool that measures functional ambulation and balance. Further testing needed to determine usefulness for children with disabilities. Other variables that impact typical performances need exploration.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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