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Parental Acceptance of an Intense Physiotherapeutic Program for Cerebral Palsy

Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was (1) to evaluate feasibility of attendance and parent satisfaction with an intensive outpatient physical and occupational therapy program for young children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) and (2) to examine changes in motor function. Methods: Sixteen children with CP, age range 18–36 months (mean 24.3 ± 6.3 months), received physical and occupational therapy sessions (30 minutes each) 5 days per week for 12 weeks. Attendance rates and parent satisfaction were assessed. Change in motor function using a one-group pre-post design was evaluated using the Gross Motor Function Measure-66 (GMFM-66), Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test, and Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory. GMFM-66 outcomes were also compared with expected outcomes using previously published normative developmental trajectories of children receiving standard therapies. Results: An average of 82% of scheduled outpatient physical and occupational therapies for 16 children were completed and the 11 parents who completed the Hills and Kitchen’s Physiotherapy Outpatient Satisfaction Questionnaire were satisfied with the therapies and with their child’s progress. Participants showed notable, statistically significant improvement across all activity-related measures. Conclusion: An intensive protocol of outpatient therapies utilizing Perception-Action Approach was feasible for most families of young children with spastic CP to attend at the outpatient clinic location. As this was not an experimental study, no reliable conclusions related to efficacy can be made, but the promising results suggest that further research into the effectiveness of intensive protocols is worthwhile.

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