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Isometric joystick: a study of control by adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy.

Authors
  • Stewart, H
  • Noble, G
  • Seeger, B R
Type
Published Article
Journal
Australian occupational therapy journal
Publication Date
Mar 01, 1992
Volume
39
Issue
1
Pages
33–39
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.1992.tb01733.x
PMID: 21790644
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This research was undertaken to determine the best wheelchair driving method for clients with cerebral palsy who were experiencing difficulties using displacement joysticks. The hypothesis was that adolescents with cerebral palsy would perform better in a tracking task using an isometric joystick (which has no moving parts) than a displacement joystick of the type used in commercial wheelchair controllers. A series of single subject case studies was performed in which the activating force of the isometric joystick was individualised for each subject. Comparative evaluation of the isometric joystick and a displacement joystick was then carried out. Results indicate that performance using the displacement joystick was superior to performance with the isometric joystick for the able-bodied subject and four of the five subjects with cerebral palsy. One of the subjects showed significantly better performance on the displacement joystick using his hand, and no significant difference between joysticks using his foot. The remaining subject, who used his foot, showed no significant difference between joysticks. These findings suggest that subjects with cerebral palsy with prior experience using a displacement joystick do not appear to benefit by the use of an isometric joystick compared to a displacement joystick. No difference in the use of the two joysticks was found for subjects with cerebral palsy who had no prior experience using a joystick. This suggests that an isometric joystick is an option for people beginning to learn to drive an electric wheelchair.

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