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The effect of frequency of cerebral palsy treatment : a matched-pair pilot study.

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The feasibility and effectiveness of a year-long integrated rehabilitation program for young children (less than 6 years old) with cerebral palsy was evaluated, and efficacy of different treatment schedules was compared. A sample of 40 children (20 male; mean age, 3 years ±1.22) took part: 20 presented with tetraparesis, 12 with diparesis, and 8 with hemiparesis. Participants' motor abilities were classified according to the Gross Motor Function Measure classification system at baseline and after 1 year of treatment. For half of the participants, treatment consisted of continuous integrated intervention twice a week; for the other half, treatment was the 3i intervention (Intermittent, Intensive, Integrated), in which a month of intensive, twice-a-day treatment was followed by a continuous, twice-a-week phase, lasting 5 months. Overall, there was an improvement in gross motor function, with 37% of children improving and no children showing lowered function. Neither baseline general cognitive abilities nor age had a significant effect on the level of improvement, although initial gross motor function did. Children undergoing the intensive intermittent intervention showed the greatest motor function improvement. Results support the effectiveness of the integrated intervention and of periods of higher frequency intervention in young children.

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