Abstract

Objective. This single-case study was designed to duplicate Smelt’s (1989) study of the effects of the application of an inhibitive weight-bearing splint on upper-extremity muscle tone and function in a child with cerebral palsy.

Method. Data on tone were collected by tracing the hand when weight bearing in the extended arm posture. Data on function were collected by observing block play for active grasp and voluntary release and ball play.

Results. Results indicate that after the application of an inhibitive weight-bearing splint, tone changed minimally, fine motor functional task changes were variable, and arm–hand position improved. Subjective reports by family and other caregivers, however, suggest that tone decreased and function increased.

Conclusion. The results of this study suggest the need to find more accurate means of measuring changes of tone and function in children with cerebral palsy. Selection criteria for suitable candidates for the weight-bearing splint are presented.

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