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