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Guideline Addresses Physical Function in Cerebral Palsy Patients

Interventions to improve physical function for children, young people with cerebral palsy should include active practice of client goals

THURSDAY, Sept. 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) – For children and young people with cerebral palsy, interventions should focus on active practice of the client’s goals to improve physical function, according to a clinical practice guideline published online Sept. 21 in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

Michelle Jackman, Ph.D., from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues provide recommendations for interventions to improve physical function for children and young people with cerebral palsy. Three systematic reviews, 30 randomized trials, and five before-after studies were reviewed to inform the development of 13 recommendations.

The authors recommend that interventions include client-selected goals, whole-task practice within real-life settings, support to empower families, and a team approach to achieve functional goals. Consideration should be given to age, ability, and child/family preferences. Overground walking is recommended to improve walking ability; this can be supplemented with treadmill training. Hand use goals can be facilitated by various approaches including bimanual therapy, constraint-induced movement therapy, goal-directed training, and cognitive approaches. Whole-task practice combined with assistive devices can improve independence for self-care and reduce the burden for caregivers. Leisure goal participation can combine whole-task practice with strategies to address environmental, personal, and social barriers.

“This research is really exciting for children and young people with cerebral palsy across the globe,” Jackman said in a statement. “No longer is it best practice to focus on changing muscles and movements alone; it’s about focusing on real life activities and being able to do the things you love.”

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