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RESEARCH REPORT: EDUCATION

Commentary on “Current Physical Therapy Practice in Norway for Children With Cerebral Palsy”

Lowe, Leah M. PT, DPT, PhD, PCS; Bass-Carrigan, Deandriea PhD, LAC, CRC; Yates, Charlotte C. PT, PhD, PCS

Author Information
Pediatric Physical Therapy: January 2021 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 46
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000758
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“How could I apply this information?”

Previous literature outlines the optimal outcomes of functional training based on principles of motor learning.1 Through a national survey among Norwegian physical therapists, this method was reported as the primary method of choice when treating children with cerebral palsy whose goals are to learn gross motor skills. A larger proportion of therapists selected functional training based on principles of motor learning than those in previous studies, suggesting the gap is closing between what is known to be efficacious and what is implemented. Because of the required high frequency of skill practice with this method, the continued need for strong teaming between the therapist, parents, and school personnel is essential to allow for continued practice outside of the therapy session. Integral to the team approach are much-needed conversations with therapists and parents about physical therapy practice and evidence-based outcomes related to the method of choice.1 Of interest, the physical therapists with the most experience had statistically significantly less probability of using functional training based on principles of motor learning than physical therapists with less experience. This finding suggests that knowledge translation within the field of pediatric physical therapy practice is a continued need.

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

The study used a convenience sample from the Association of Physiotherapists in Norway (65% response rate) that may not be truly representative of the entire group of practicing pediatric physical therapists in Norway. Future studies investigating responses from physical therapists who are not association members could further inform knowledge translation efforts. Additional studies to assess practice through observation, clinician self-reflection, or parent report are needed to determine what percentages of practice approaches are actually being implemented rather than reported in each session.

Leah M. Lowe, PT, DPT, PhD, PCS
Department of Physical Therapy
University of Central Arkansas
Conway
Deandriea Bass-Carrigan, PhD, LAC, CRC
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services
Conway
Charlotte C. Yates, PT, PhD, PCS
Department of Physical Therapy
University of Central Arkansas
Conway

REFERENCE

1. Novak I, Morgan C, Fahey M, et al. State of the Evidence Traffic Lights 2019: systematic review of interventions for preventing and treating children with cerebral palsy. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2020;20(2):3.
© 2021 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association