Community-Based Upper Extremity Power Training for Youth with Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Study

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Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics






Aim: To examine the effects of an upper-extremity, community-based, and power-training intervention.

Methods: Twelve participants with cerebral palsy (CP) [8 males, 4 females; mean age 14 years 6 months (SD 5 years 4 months), range 7–24] were randomly assigned to a rest-training (RT; n = 6) or training-rest (n = 6) group in this randomized, cross-over design. Training took place in participants’ home or school, three times per week for 6 weeks. We examined changes in upper extremity average power output (Pavg) in watts (W) and changes in function via the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI).

Results: Each participant completed at least 15 of the 18 total training sessions (91.2% adherence). Pavg increased 92.2% on average among participants (p < .05). There was a significant three-way interaction among treatment, sequence, and period with the data stratified by (Bimanual Fine Motor Function [BFMF]) level on the pain subscale of the PODCI (p = 0.0118). All participants decreased pain after training with the exception of individuals with lower functioning (BFMF II-V) in the RT group.

Conclusion: A community-based upper extremity power-training intervention was feasible and effective at improving power among young people with CP and has the potential to improve pain.