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Impaired Voluntary Movement Control and its Rehabilitation in Cerebral Palsy

Weekly Seminar | Not Open to the Public
Who Should Attend: 


Dr. Andrew Gordon's Photo
Professor of Movement Science and Neuroscience and Education


Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common pediatric physical and neurological disorder, and describes a group of permanent disorders of the development of movement and posture, causing activity limitation. The manifestation of CP is attributed to non-progressive disturbances that occurred in the developing fetal or infant brain. Although the brain disturbances are non-progressive, the expression of the impairments and resulting disabilities change throughout the life cycle as the child grows, develops, and compensates for the underlying abnormalities. Historically treatment was focused primarily and remediating impairments (e.g., increased muscle tone), with little expectation that motor function could improve. However, we later showed that upper extremity function, albeit impaired, develops at the same rate in children with CP as their typically developed peers. Furthermore, although children with CP demonstrated impaired motor learning, our studies of prehension showed that motor function can indeed improve, but only with much more intensive practice than required of their typically developing peers. Recent systematic analyses of treatment studies demonstrate that rehabilitation approaches that capitalize on these findings, and involve active movement of the participant using “motor learning approaches” are effective in improving movement coordination and function. Here we review how increased understanding of mechanisms underlying the motor impairments has informed pediatric rehabilitation, and the current state-of-the-science behind effective rehabilitation approaches. We will highlight several approaches we have tested with increasing evidence of efficacy, including bimanual therapy, whole body training and robotic trunk training.

Dr. Andrew Gordon's Figure


Kathleen M Friel, Claudio L Ferre, Marina Brandao, Hsing-Ching Kuo, Karen Chin, Ya-Ching Hung, Maxime T Robert, Veronique H Flamand, Ana Smorenburg, Yannick Bleyenheuft, Jason B Carmel, Talita Campos, Andrew M Gordon
Improvements in Upper Extremity Function Following Intensive Training Are Independent of Corticospinal Tract Organization in Children With Unilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy: A Clinical Randomized Trial
Front Neurol. 2021 May 3;12:660780. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.660780. eCollection 2021.
Maxime T Robert, Jennifer Gutterman, Claudio L Ferre, Karen Chin, Marina B Brandao, Andrew M Gordon, Kathleen Friel
Corpus Callosum Integrity Relates to Improvement of Upper-Extremity Function Following Intensive Rehabilitation in Children With Unilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2021 Jun;35(6):534-544. doi: 10.1177/15459683211011220. Epub 2021 May 6.
Victor Santamaria, Moiz Khan, Tatiana Luna, Jiyeon Kang, Joseph Dutkowsky, Andrew M Gordon, Sunil K Agrawal
Promoting Functional and Independent Sitting in Children With Cerebral Palsy Using the Robotic Trunk Support Trainer
IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2020 Dec;28(12):2995-3004. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2020.3031580. Epub 2021 Jan 28.


Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 12:30pm


Conference Room: 
Billings Building – Rosedale & Zoom

More Information

Darlene White

Conditions & Recovery

Cerebral Palsy icon
Worldwide, over 24 million children and adults are living with CP.