A child participating in the CIMT program.

Jul 19, 2018 / Research & Innovation

A Collaborative Research Program Advances Care for Children Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy

At Scottish Rite Hospital, our team is dedicated to providing individualized, expert care to each child. The hospital’s Neurology department is focused on providing treatment to orthopedic patients who have related neuromuscular diseases and neurological disorders. Over the years, the hospital has established specialized clinics for children with these complex conditions. Through the collaboration between our trained neurologists and orthopedic team, the patients are able to receive multidisciplinary care to address their specific needs. 

To continue advancing the care and treatment of our neurology patients, the department is committed to ongoing research. Each year, the hospital hosts a two-week research program for children diagnosed with hemiplegic (one side of the body) cerebral palsy. To participate in this research, children meet study inclusion criteria and go through an evaluation one week prior to being enrolled in the program. Constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a form of treatment where the child’s stronger arm is put into a splint forcing them to use the affected arm for all daily activities. The two-week therapy program includes gross and fine motor activities that encourage independence with identified goals. Activities include crafts, making snacks and games. The program also includes the use of the Armeo®Spring Pediatric (an upper limb video game based robotic exoskeleton). As part of the research, our team evaluates the child before and immediately after completing the program as well as six months later. By analyzing the progress of these children, the data has shown an impact from the therapy including improvement in range of motion, function and use of the affected arm. 

Like many of the research projects that take place at the hospital, this program involves staff from multiple departments. Our Neurology team works closely with the hospital’s research occupational therapists, Angela Shierk, Ph.D., O.T.R. and Heather Roberts, Ph.D., O.T.R., to make this a success. Pediatric clinical nurse specialist Nancy Clegg, Ph.D., R.N., has been involved with this program over the years and can see the impact it has made. “The children we see in our clinics and those who participate in this program are in need of specialized care,” says Clegg. “Our neurologists, orthopedic surgeons and therapists are able to conduct robust research to bring more knowledge and better care back to the patients affected by cerebral palsy. The CIMT program is just one of the many research programs that allow us to collaborate and discover innovative treatment options to enhance overall care.” 

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