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 document feasibility, and motor and participation outcomes for young children with cerebral palsy (CP) who received parent-administered partial weight bearing treadmill training (PWBTT).
NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: Three nonambulatory children under the age of 3, participated in this single-subject, multiple baseline study. All children had quadriplegic CP, one was Level III and 2 were Level IV on the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS).
MATERIALS/METHODS: Parents were trained to administer PWBTT 5 days/wk for 8min/day. Participants received 2, 3, or 4 months of PWBTT. Study duration was 6 months including baseline phase, intervention phase, and follow-up probe. Measured outcomes included: 1) % alternating and parallel steps, 2) Supported Walker Ambulation Performance Scale (SWAPS) scores, 3) the Gross Motor Function Measure (88 and 66) scores, and 4) a participation questionnaire.
RESULTS: Parents of the 3 participants averaged 92.3% of the expected minutes of treadmill training. One child had significant changes in alternating and parallel steps on the treadmill and a significant increase in SWAPS scores. All participants made greater changes on GMFM-88 scores for a 6-month period, compared to published data for children of similar ages and GMFCS levels. One participant made greater change on the GMFM-66, compared to published data for children of a similar age and GMFCS level. Two of the 3 families reported a moderate change in their child’s participation in their family and community.
CONCLUSIONS: Although outcomes varied for the individual children, parent-administered PWBTT may be a feasible intervention to promote improvements in motor outcomes for children with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study may contribute to the body of literature for clinical decision-making about the use of PWBTT with young children with CP. Parents were able to carry out a prescribed PWBTT program. A treadmill speed of 0.6 to 1.0mph, body weight support of 10–40%, frequency of 8 min/day, 5 days/wk and 2 mo duration were appropriate for the population of children in this study. The child who benefited the most from the PWBTT intervention in this study had mild spasticity, a preferred mobility pattern of supported walking, and parents who made detailed observations about the intervention they were performing.