Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This investigation was a pilot feasibility trial evaluating the use of an arm-weight–supported training device to improve upper-extremity function in children with hemiplegia.

METHOD. A single-group within-subject design was used. Participants were 6 children ages 7–17 yr with upper-extremity weakness secondary to hemiplegia. The intervention consisted of 15–18 treatment sessions using an arm-weight–supported training device with the affected upper extremity. Fine motor function was assessed using the Jebsen–Taylor Hand Function Test, the Box and Block Test, and the Assisting Hand Assessment. We examined participants’ interactions with the device and assessment scores pre- and postintervention.

RESULTS. Five of the 6 children exhibited some changes after the therapy. The system required significant modifications to ensure appropriate positioning.

CONCLUSION. The arm-weight–supported system may be viable for therapeutic use. Future studies should use randomized controlled designs and compare effectiveness of weight-supported training with that of other rehabilitation strategies.

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