Effect of environmental setting on mobility methods of children with cerebral palsy
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The aim of this study was to: (1) describe the usual mobility methods of children with cerebral palsy (CP) at home, school, and outdoors or in the community and (2) examine whether children with CP are more dependent on adult assistance for mobility in certain settings. The participants were a stratified random sample of 636 children with CP (355 males and 281 females; 2 to 12 years of age, mean 6.8 years SD 2.7), receiving rehabilitation services in Ontario, Canada. Children were grouped by age and Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level. Among the five levels of the GMFCS, there were 185 children classified at level I, 81 children at level II, 113 children at level III, 132 children at level IV, and 125 children at level V. Information on children's usual mobility was obtained by parent report. The results of logistic regression indicated that compared with the school setting, children were more dependent on adult assistance for mobility when outdoors/in the community and less dependent at home. The majority of children aged from 4 to 12 years at levels III to V used wheelchair mobility at school and outdoors or in the community, however, only a small percentage self-propelled their wheelchair or used powered mobility. Of the children aged 4 to 12 years at level V, 39% were carried at home. The findings suggest that environmental setting is an important consideration for assessment and intervention to improve mobility of children with CP. For children who do not walk, attention should be given to the needs of caregivers and factors that are important for successful powered mobility.
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