Mobility is a key factor in self–care independence for kids with cerebral palsy

Mobility influences the ability of children with cerebral palsy (CP) to carry out self–care activities independently, a finding that could help in the designing of treatment plans and improved development, new research from South Korea shows.

‘I am happy as I am’: Little Daisy becomes the first child in a wheelchair to be featured on the Secret Life of Five Year Olds – as her mother insists her disability won’t hold her back. Daisy Mason, 5, from Norfolk, has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Daily Mail Online

By Jose Marques Lopes PhD, Cerebral Palsy News Today June 12, 2017

Evaluation of the development of children with CP comprises three areas: mobility (such as taking public transportation and getting in and out of a chair/wheelchair, car, bed, bathtub, etc.), self–care, and social function (communication, for example).

Improvement in motor activity, communication, and manual and intellectual capabilities leads to independence in daily life activities. And the ability to perform gross motor functions is considered a predictor of self–care activities and mobility in CP.

Some children with CP, however, are unable to carry out self–care activities independently despite having sufficient motor, intellectual, and manual abilities.

A research team led by Dae–Hyun Jang MD PhD, from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Incheon St. Mary’s Hospital, at the Catholic University of Korea, in South Korea, analyzed the factors influencing the development of self–care activity, and the relationship between mobility and self–care activity in children with CP.

Children with severe intellectual disability or behavioral problems were excluded from the study. Final evaluation included 25 children with CP, ages 4 to 11. The analysis used classification systems for motor function and manual ability, as well as a clinical assessment of self–care in children.

The results showed a significant association between manual ability and gross motor deficits. The data also demonstrated a relationship between self–care scores and gross motor function levels.

The study revealed that mobility and social function significantly influence self–care, although mobility was the only factor influencing self–care in children 7 years or older.

Researchers observed that verbal IQ did not correlate with the ability to perform self–care activities, which indicates that high intellectual ability is not necessary for performing self–care activities.

Unlike previous studies, the scientists did not find an association between manual capabilities and self–care activity. Moreover, the influence of gross motor function on self–care activity was not as robust as previously observed. The discrepancies may be due to different inclusion criteria, as children with IQ less than 35 or with severe motor limitation were excluded in the present study.

Overall, the study revealed that, “Mobility is a significant factor in self-care activities of CP children aged ≥7 years,” the authors wrote. Therefore, “a rehabilitation program aimed at improving mobility is crucial in children with CP aged ≥7 years, since it forms the basis for further improvements in self-care activity, leading to significant improvements in the quality of life.”

Future studies should use larger sample sizes and be performed in multiple locations. Including children with severe motor limitations should also help to determine the influence of mobility and gross motor abilities on self–care activities, researchers said.

Source Cerebral Palsy News Today


Relationship Between Mobility and Self-Care Activity in Children With Cerebral Palsy, Kyeongwon Kim MD, Jin Young Kang MD PhD, and Dae-Hyun Jang MD PhD. Ann Rehabil Med. 2017 Apr; 41(2): 266–272. Published online 2017 Apr 27. doi: 10.5535/arm.2017.41.2.266

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