Investigation of the Effects of a Model of Physical Therapy on Mother-Child Interactions and the Motor Behaviors of Children With Motor Delay
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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Physical therapists strive to promote children's motor function and the parents' abilities to interact with their children, thus aiming to positively influence the parent-child relationship. This study examined a model for provision of home-based physical therapy within the context of motor play on mother-child interactions and motor behaviors of children. SUBJECTS: The subjects were 38 mothers and their children with motor delay, aged 6 to 34 months (mean = 18.8, SD = 7.2), who were receiving center-based early intervention. METHOD: Children were ranked by motor development, using the Bayley Motor Scale, and assigned to either an experimental or control group. The experimental group received five home-based sessions of physical therapy. Conventional physical therapy strategies were incorporated into interactive play activities between mothers and their children. Both groups continued to receive their centered-based services. Mother-child interactions were videotaped before and after intervention and were analyzed using a modification of the response-class matrix. RESULTS: The mothers in the experimental group demonstrated an increase in appropriate holding of their children, whereas mothers in the control group demonstrated a decrease. The mothers in the experimental group became more directive, thus controlling their children's behavior, but they were not less positive or more negative when interacting with their children. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: The integration of conventional physical therapy within the context of interactive play was well received and may promote generalization of motor skills during play without interfering with positive mother-child interactions.
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