Feasibility of Using a Large Amplitude Movement Therapy to Improve Ambulatory Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of motor disability among children. Limited evidence exists regarding the efficacy of traditional rehabilitation strategies on improving ambulatory function in this population. The purpose of the study was to investigate the feasibility and short-term effects of a novel large amplitude movement therapy on ambulatory functions in children with CP. Temporal-spatial gait characteristics were examined before and after a single intervention session, replicated over five children. Five children with CP (7.0 ± 1.0 years); Gross Motor Function Classification System Levels I–II, participated. Baseline gait parameters were obtained as the participant walked across an instrumented walkway at self-selected and fast speeds. Children then participated in a 20–30 min intervention focused on making body and limb movements as large as possible with gait assessment repeated immediately. All children tolerated testing and therapy with no adverse effects. Outcomes after one intervention included: significantly greater stride velocity; reduced double support time; and greater stride length after training for three of the five participants. Results for this pilot study suggested that the large amplitude movement therapy was feasible for children with CP. There is a need for a larger scale study to determine if the protocol can be effective at an appropriate clinical dose.