Commentary on “Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Training in Virtual Reality: A Feasibility Study” : Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Commentary on “Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Training in Virtual Reality: A Feasibility Study”

Ebner-Karestinos, Daniela PT, PhD; Araneda, Rodrigo PT, PhD

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Pediatric Physical Therapy 35(1):p 92, January 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000985
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“How could I apply this information?”

During the last decades, intensive interventions based on the principles of motor skill learning have supported improved function of children with cerebral palsy in the 3 domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. These interventions are typically applied in a day-camp model, soliciting voluntary movement, involving many hours of structured training, and progressing the difficulty of the activities. The present study indicates the feasibility of a hand-arm bimanual intensive training inspired intervention to be performed in a virtual reality context. While doing so, they increased the bimanual coordination and function as well as unilateral gross motor skill. These positive results may contribute to further use of remote monitoring interventions that include most of the motor skill learning principles.

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

The principles of motor skill learning in intensive interventions are commonly presented in a child-friendly environment supporting motivation. A key element is the use of functional goals during therapy. This key component contributes to maintaining gains after the intervention. Although some positive effects have been observed after virtual reality training, it remains unclear if this type of intervention has an impact on functional/daily living tasks as well as maintaining gains over time. Future studies should incorporate a comparison group to clearly observe the effect of virtual reality in the intensive therapy processes.

Daniela Ebner-Karestinos, PT, PhD
Rodrigo Araneda, PT, PhD
Exercise and Rehabilitation Science Institute
School of Physical Therapy
Faculty of Rehabilitation Science
Universidad Andrés Bello
Santiago, Chile
Institute of Neuroscience
Université Catholique de Louvain
Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

© 2023 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association