Purpose: Evaluate effectiveness of active exercise interventions for improving gross motor activity/participation of school-aged, ambulant/semi-ambulant children with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: A systematic review was conducted following PRISMA guidelines. Five databases were searched for papers including school-aged children with CP, participating in active, exercise interventions with gross motor outcomes measured at the Activity/Participation level. Interventions with previous systematic reviews were excluded (e.g. hippotherapy). Evidence Level and conduct were examined by two raters. Results: Seven interventions (34 studies) met criteria. All studies reported on gross motor function, however, a limited number investigated participation outcomes. Strong positive evidence was available for Gross Motor Activity Training (n= 6, Evidence Level II–IV), and Gross Motor Activity Training with progressive resistance exercise plus additional physiotherapy (n = 3, all Evidence Level II). Moderate positive evidence exists for Gross Motor Activity Training plus additional physiotherapy (n = 2, all Evidence Level II) and Physical Fitness Training (n = 4, Evidence Level II–V). Weak positive evidence was available for Modified Sport (n = 3, Evidence Level IV–V) and Non-Immersive Virtual Reality (n = 12, Evidence Level II–V). There was strong evidence against Gross Motor Activity Training plus progressive resistance exercise without additional physiotherapy (n = 4, all Evidence Level II). Interpretation: Active, performance-focused exercise with variable practice opportunities improves gross motor function in ambulant/semi-ambulant children with CP.Implications for rehabilitation Active exercise interventions improve gross motor function of ambulant/semi-ambulant children with cerebral palsy. Gross Motor Activity Training is the most common and effective intervention. Practice variability is essential to improve gross motor function. Participation was rarely measured and requires further research, particularly in interventions that embed real-world participation opportunities like Modified Sport.
Clutterbuck, G., Auld, M., & Johnston, L. (2019, May 8). Active exercise interventions improve gross motor function of ambulant/semi-ambulant children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review. Disability and Rehabilitation. Taylor and Francis Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2017.1422035
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