Relevance of the Pediatric Powered Wheelchair Screening Test for children with cerebral palsy.
ABSTRACT In a previous study we developed a cognitive assessment battery called the Pediatric Powered Wheelchair Screening Test (PPWST) to help clinicians determine a young child's readiness to drive a powered wheelchair. The current multicenter study sought to determine: (1) whether the PPWST is appropriate for use in a population of children with cerebral palsy (CP) who use joysticks to drive their wheelchair; (2) whether two additional factors (symbolic representation and coping) would increase the predictive power of the PPWST for this group and for children with orthopedic or neuromuscular disabilities only; and (3) whether the test was appropriate for children with severe motor impairments who use switches to control their wheelchair. Fifty children (27 males, 23 females) between the ages of 21 months and 6 years 11 months participated. Twenty-six children (mean age 4 years 4 months, SD 15 months) had triplegic or tetraplegic CP and 24 children (mean age 27 months, SD 5 months) had orthopedic or neuromuscular disabilities. Sixty-nine per cent of children had some limited form of mobility (such as rolling or scooting) but none was a functional ambulator. Each child was assessed with the PPWST and with measures of symbolic representation and coping. After six wheelchair training sessions, driving ability was scored. The PPWST was found to be predictive of functional driving ability for children with CP who used a joystick to control their wheelchair. Assessment of symbolic representation skills increased the predictive power for this group but not for children with orthopedic or neuromuscular disabilities; coping scores did not increase the predictive power for either group. The PPWST accounted for only 20% of the variance in overall driving skills for switch users, and thus is not yet considered an adequate screening device for this group. The PPWST is designed to help clinicians determine whether a child currently has the specific cognitive skills found to be related to powered wheelchair driving but is not intended to be used exclusively to determine whether or not a child is ultimately a candidate for powered mobility.
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ABSTRACT: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a common pediatric disorder occurring in about 2 to 2.5 per 1000 live births. It is a chronic motor disorder resulting from a non-progressive (static) insult to the developing brain. CP is the clinical presentation of a wide variety of cerebral cortical or sub-cortical insults occurring during the first year of life. The commonest cause of CP remains unknown in 50% of the cases; prematurity remains the commonest risk factor. Children with CP suffer from multiple problems and potential disabilities such as mental retardation, epilepsy, feeding difficulties, and ophthalmologic and hearing impairments. Screening for these conditions should be part of the initial assessment. The child with CP is best cared for with an individualized treatment plan that provides a combination of interventions. This requires the provision of a number of family-centered services that make a difference in the lives of these children and their families. Management of spasticity can be challenging with a wide variety of possible therapeutic interventions. The treatment must be goal oriented, such as to assist with mobility, reduce or prevent contractures, improve positioning and hygiene, and provide comfort. Each member of the child's multidisciplinary team, including the child and both parents, should participate in the serial evaluations and treatment planning.Annals of Saudi medicine 26(2):123-32. · 1.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Experiencing independent mobility is important for children with a severe movement disability, but learning to drive a powered wheelchair can be labor intensive, requiring hand-over-hand assistance from a skilled therapist. To improve accessibility to training, we developed a robotic wheelchair trainer that steers itself along a course marked by a line on the floor using computer vision, haptically guiding the driver's hand in appropriate steering motions using a force feedback joystick, as the driver tries to catch a mobile robot in a game of "robot tag". This paper provides a detailed design description of the computer vision and control system. In addition, we present data from a pilot study in which we used the chair to teach children without motor impairment aged 4-9 (n = 22) to drive the wheelchair in a single training session, in order to verify that the wheelchair could enable learning by the non-impaired motor system, and to establish normative values of learning rates. Training with haptic guidance from the robotic wheelchair trainer improved the steering ability of children without motor impairment significantly more than training without guidance. We also report the results of a case study with one 8-year-old child with a severe motor impairment due to cerebral palsy, who replicated the single-session training protocol that the non-disabled children participated in. This child also improved steering ability after training with guidance from the joystick by an amount even greater than the children without motor impairment. The system not only provided a safe, fun context for automating driver's training, but also enhanced motor learning by the non-impaired motor system, presumably by demonstrating through intuitive movement and force of the joystick itself exemplary control to follow the course. The case study indicates that a child with a motor system impaired by CP can also gain a short-term benefit from driver's training with haptic guidance.Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 01/2010; 7:40. · 3.26 Impact Factor
Article: Short-term, early intensive power mobility training: case report of an infant at risk for cerebral palsy.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This case report describes the feasibility of quantifying short-term, intensive power mobility training for an infant soon after a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. An 11-month-old infant with significant mobility impairments and her parents were filmed during 14 consecutive daily training sessions. The infant moved the power chair with hand-over-hand assistance and performed open exploration of the joystick and toys. Mobility measures, coded from video, were compared across training. Frequency and combination of looking at and interacting with the joystick, percentage of time of moving independently, and average percentage of success in moving when prompted, all increased across the training. Quantifying short-term, intensive power mobility training for infants is feasible and may have yielded positive short-term effects for this infant. The "who," "when," and "how" of early power mobility training, as well as the critical need for paradigm shifts in power mobility training, are discussed.Pediatric physical therapy: the official publication of the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association 01/2012; 24(2):141-8.