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Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2015 Jan;10(1):19-26. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2013.832414. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Virtual rehabilitation in a school setting: is it feasible for children with cerebral palsy?

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  • 1Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute, AUT University , Auckland , New Zealand .



To determine the feasibility of a school-based virtual rehabilitation intervention for children with cerebral palsy.


A feasibility study was conducted using a mixed method approach. Participants were five children with cerebral palsy who were currently attending a rural school. Each child received an 8-week rehabilitation programme involving an Interactive Virtual Reality Exercise (IREX) system. The IREX was placed in the child's school for the duration of the intervention. Each child's programme was designed by a physiotherapist but supervised by a teacher aide at the school. Feasibility of the intervention was assessed through a questionnaire completed by the child and an interview conducted with the teacher supervisor.


The children all rated the IREX intervention as fun, easy to use, and beneficial for their arm. Categories from the supervisor interviews centred on resolving technical issues, the enjoyment of taking part due to the child's progress, and the central role of interacting with the child. Input from the research physiotherapist was critical to the success of the intervention.


The IREX is feasible to implement in a school-based setting supervised by teachers. This provides an option for delivering physiotherapy to children in isolated areas who do not receive on-going therapy. Implication for Rehabilitation Virtual rehabilitation programmes using the IREX are feasible in a school-based setting. The negative impact of technical difficulties is likely to be overcome by the user's enjoyment and rehabilitation benefits gained. Input from a therapist in designing and monitoring the programme is critical.


Feasibility; upper limb; virtual reality

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