OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this pilot study is to describe the use of the Kinesio Taping® method for the upper extremity in enhancing functional motor skills in children admitted into an acute rehabilitation program.

METHOD. Fifteen children (10 females and 5 males; 4 to 16 years of age), who were receiving rehabilitation services at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago participated in this study. For 13 of the inpatients, this was the initial rehabilitation following an acquired disability, which included encephalitis, brain tumor, cerebral vascular accident, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury. The Melbourne Assessment of Unilateral Upper Limb Function (Melbourne Assessment) was used to measure upper-limb functional change prior to use of Kinesio Tape®, immediately after application of the tape, and 3 days after wearing tape. Children’s upper-limb function was compared over the three assessments using analysis of variance.

RESULTS. The improvement from pre- to posttaping was statistically significant, F(1, 14) = 18.9; p < .02.

CONCLUSION. These results suggest that Kinesio Tape may be associated with improvement in upper-extremity control and function in the acute pediatric rehabilitation setting. The use of Kinesio Tape as an adjunct to treatment may assist with the goal-focused occupational therapy treatment during the child’s inpatient stay. Further study is recommended to test the effectiveness of this method and to determine the lasting effects on motor skills and functional performance once the tape is removed.

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