Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Activity and Participation Levels in 6-12-Year-Old Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Study, Year Two


Physical Therapy


College of Health Professions


Medicine and Health Sciences


TITLE: Activity and Participation Levels in 6-12-Year-Old Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Study, Year Two. SECTION: Pediatrics PRESENTATION TYPE: Research Report - Poster AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: Schwenk K, Carter K, Ullery L, Peck J, Kenyon LK, Shoemaker M; Department of Physical Therapy, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI. ABSTRACT BODY: Purpose: As compared to typically developing peers, previous research has shown that children with cerebral palsy (CP) may demonstrate passive patterns of activity, and preference for informal, less structured activities. Few studies have investigated activity and participation levels in a child with CP from a whole personmodel. The purpose of this study was to examine the intensity and nature of functional and recreational activity levels in ambulatory children with CP as qualified by their manual dexterity, communication abilities and personal preferences for activity. Subjects: 5 males and 1 female, with a medical diagnosis of CP, ages 8-11. Methods: Participants were classified using the Gross Motor Function Classification System-Expanded and Revised (GMFCS-ER), Manual Ability Classification System (MACS), and Communication Function Classification System (CFCS). Each child wore an RT3 tri-axial accelerometer for 2 school days and 2 weekend days and completed an associated daily activity log with caregiver assistance. Activity and participation preferences were measured using the Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment / Preferences for Activities of Children (CAPE/PAC). Results: The GMFCS, MACS and CFCS classification results were respectively as follows: Child I: II, I, I; Child II: I, I, II; Child III: I, II, I; Child IV: III, II, I; Child V: I, I, I; Child VI: I, II, I. Regardless of GMFCS level, 5 out of 6 children demonstrated increased activity counts on school days, and more specifically during school hours, as compared to weekend days. The majority of physical activity counts for all children fell within the light category, defined as 41-950 counts/minute. Participants with a GMFCS level I demonstrated higher moderate/vigorous activity counts as compared to children at GMFCS levels II and III. All participants, except for Child I, achieved the CDCs recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. All 6 participants preferred individual, low intensity, home-based activities and reported high enjoyment when completing these activities. Conclusions: All participants demonstrated lower physical activity levels as compared to their typically developing, age-matched peers as noted by decreased frequency of continuous moderate to vigorous physical activity bouts. 5 of the participants demonstrated their highest activity counts during their school hours. While most of the participants showed preference for solitary, low intensity activities, all participants expressed different interests. Clinical Relevance: Knowledge of a child’s preferred interests may allow teachers and health professionals to individualize class and treatment sessions respectively, to promote increased physical activity and participation levels and decrease risk for secondary impairments. Keywords: physical activity, accelerometer, cerebral palsy

Conference Name

Combined Sections Meeting

Conference Location

Indianapolis, IN

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