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Commentry on Impact of Enhanced Sensory Input on Treadmill Step Frequency: Infants Born With Myelomeningocele

Willett, Sandy L. PT, MS, PCS; Haibourne, Regina T. PT, PhD, PCS

Pediatric Physical Therapy: April 2011 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 1
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31820991bo

University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska

University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska

“How could 1 apply this information?”

This information might he considered a small piece of the clinical decision-making puzzle when determining the benefits of specific motor activity and motor practice for children with myelomeningocele (MVIC). The author's study provides some intriguing evidence about the itnporiance of varying sensory information for infants with MMC to promote success during the stepping task. Most therapists are mindful of the motor requirements needed for a given task such as strength, range of motion, and motivational drive. However, this study suggests that other systems, such as the sensory system, may contribute to driving motor behaviors. The application of this information can be taken in the context of building a practice situation Tor mobility activities that incorporate natural sensory information, such as visual flow and changing friciion of the surface to fully enhance the drive for self-mobility.

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

Therapists need to he mindful that this is not a clinical study meant to look at the effectiveness of intervention, but rather a basic science study trying to elucidate mechanisms of sensory motor activity. Further case studies and clinical trials are needed to take this information into practice, in addition, the treadmill in this case is only a tool to present sensory information in a controlled way and does not imply that the technique is useful in a functional mobility scenario for a child with MMC. Clinicians should be mindful that frequency of treadmill stepping may not necessarily translate to functional overground walking.

Copyright © 2011 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association