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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31829de6ec
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Commentary on “Functional Balance Assessment With Pediatric Balance Scale in Girls With Visual Impairment”

Rynearson, Elissa PT, DPT; Yu, Stephanie PT, MSPT, PCS

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

“How should I apply this information?”

Physical therapy for children with visual impairment (VI) is important, as this population experiences gross motor delays, which can lead to postural difficulties. An understanding of a child's VI and its effect on functional activities are factors to consider when establishing a therapy program to promote safe participation in daily roles. For the sample of girls with VI recruited for this study, difficulties were seen in the dynamic standing activities of the Pediatric Balance Scale. A significant negative correlation was found between Pediatric Balance Scale scores and mediolateral sway amplitude and velocity measured using stabilography. Therefore, intervention that focuses on functional standing tasks and improving stability in the mediolateral plane may be beneficial. The results may also guide the physical therapist to address balance instability earlier in a child's life, to possibly minimize or avert the challenges identified in adolescence.

“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”

A specific test measure has not been established to assess the functional capabilities of children and adolescents with VI. While the study found correlations between Pediatric Balance Scale and stabilography, the generalizability is limited because of the sample studied. The results were derived from a small sample size of adolescent girls who had varying levels of VI and did not have physical or cognitive impairments. Further research is needed to establish a broader research base of reference to measure balance for children and adolescents with VI.

Elissa Rynearson, PT, DPT
California Children's Services, County of Los Angeles
Gardena, California
Stephanie Yu, PT, MSPT, PCS
California Children's Services, County of Los Angeles
El Monte, California

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association

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