Importance: Research on the functional and motor performance impact of virtual reality (VR) as an intervention tool for children with cerebral palsy (CP) is limited.

Objective: To understand whether VR is an effective intervention to improve upper extremity (UE) function and motor performance of children diagnosed with CP.

Data Sources: Databases used in the search were EBSCOhost, One Search, PubMed, Cloud Source, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Google Scholar.

Study Selection and Data Collection: Studies published from 2006 to 2021 were included if children had a diagnosis of CP and were age 21 yr or younger, VR was used as an intervention, and measures of UE function and motor performance were used.

Findings: Twenty-one studies were included, and the results provided promising evidence for improvements in areas of UE function, motor performance, and fine motor skills when VR is used as an intervention. To yield noticeable UE improvements in children with CP, VR should be implemented for 30 to 60 min/session and for at least 360 min over more than 3 wk. Additional areas of improvement include gross motor skills, functional mobility, occupational performance, and intrinsic factors.

Conclusions and Relevance: The use of VR as an intervention for children with CP to improve UE function and motor performance is supported. More randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes focusing on similar outcomes and intervention frequencies are needed to determine the most effective type of VR for use in clinical occupational therapy.

Plain-Language Summary: This systematic review explains how virtual reality (VR) has been used as an intervention with children with cerebral palsy (CP). The review synthesizes the results of 21 research studies of children who had a diagnosis of CP and who were 21 years old or younger. The findings support using VR to improve upper extremity performance, motor performance, and fine motor skills. The findings also show that occupational therapy practitioners should use a VR intervention at a minimum frequency of 30 to 60 minutes per session and for at least 360 minutes over more than 3 weeks to yield noticeable improvements in upper extremity, motor performance, and fine motor skills for children with CP.

You do not currently have access to this content.