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Functional Physical Training and CP

Recent research in Pediatric Physical Therapy reports on thirteen children with cerebral palsy who participated in functional physical training 2x/wk for 9 weeks resulting in significant improvements in ambulation, aerobic endurance, and walking distance.

This might seem obvious but I think therapists need to be reminded frequently what works time and time again – aerobic training results in improved functioning. Sometimes therapists can go off on too many tangents when working with kids. Sticking to the basics, muscle strengthening, practice and aerobic training gets results.

Now how to apply this study to school based therapy. Most children do not receive PT or OT 2x/week. Although, many receive PE or APE that many times. Try consulting with the PE teachers and help to create stations that work on aerobic conditioning. Also, try offering parents suggestions to do at home with aerobic stations that are simple to set up. Get the child motivated to participate. Create a chart – when 18 sessions are reached award that child with a prize. Any other ideas? Please comment.

Reference: Gorter, Hetty PT; Holty, Lian PT; Rameckers, Eugène E.A. PT, MRes; Elvers, Hans J.W.H. RI, MSc; Oostendorp, Rob A.B. Prof Dr (2008) Changes in Endurance and Walking Ability Through Functional Physical Training in Children with Cerebral Palsy [Research Report] Pediatric Physical Therapy:Volume 21(1)Spring 2009pp 31-37