A study published in the Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics Journal on May 1, 2018 reports good news for children with cerebral palsy. The study shows that intensive physical training can prevent the loss of motor skills for children with cerebral palsy.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
As the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation explains, Cerebral means "of the brain" and Palsy means "lack of muscle control." So cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect the way a person can move. The disorder is caused by damage to the brain as it develops during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Not all cases of cerebral palsy look the same. The disorder can affect muscle control, posture, balance, and/or body movement. It is a life-long condition.
What are the statistics of the study?
According to Cerebral Palsy News Today, researchers analyzed the clinical records of 442 children who were between the ages of 2 and 12. These records were followed for a period of 2.9 years. The children who had physical therapy 3 or more times per week experienced greater progress on their gross motor functions. The number of training periods increased the positive effect. For instance, a single period of intensive training increased gross motor progress by 3.3 percentiles. Two periods of intensive training increased it by 6.6 percentiles.
Did any factor decrease the gross motor progress?
Yes, the study shows that children with intellectual disability had much lower gross motor skills. The disabilities of children with eating problems and children with ankle contractures also negatively impacted the progress of gross motor skills.
The researchers recommend intensive training to enhance gross motor progress in all children with cerebral palsy. They decided the intensive training was even beneficial for those children who had intellectual disabilities or other negative factors.
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