Constraint Induced Movement Therapy
Children Who May Benefit
- Children with limited functional use of one hand and arm.
- Children with diagnoses that may include Cerebral Palsy, stroke, head injury, brachial plexus injury, etc.
- Children who are able motivated to achieve a new skill.
- Children whose caregivers are available to participate in therapy sessions as well as extensive home programming.
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy, or CI Therapy, is a family of treatments that teach the brain to “rewire” itself. As a result of engaging in repetitive exercises, focusing on use of the affected limb, the patient’s brain “rewires” itself allowing the child to learn how to use their affected arm. CI Therapy is effective in children who have limited use of one side of their body due to diagnoses such as Cerebral Palsy, stroke, head injury, and Brachial Plexus Injury.
A specially trained therapist will create a treatment plan specific to each child’s needs. The higher functioning arm is put in a temporary cast to allow the affected arm to perform activities & exercises. These therapeutic “shaping” activities allow the child to form new and more correct movements with that arm and increase its use for function. Additionally, caregivers will perform extensive home exercises daily as instructed by the therapist.
This program has been researched extensively revealing that, six months after program completion, children maintain the majority of the skills they gained in the CI program.
What Does Therapy Include?
Each child is evaluated to identify needs and determine goals on the first day of the program. Each day the child will participate in activities to improve:
- Use of arm, hand, and fingers
- Skills to care for self (dressing, feeding, etc.)