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Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2014 Aug;34(3):245-59. doi: 10.3109/01942638.2013.866611. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

Efficacy and acceptability of reduced intensity constraint-induced movement therapy for children aged 9-11 years with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: a pilot study.

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  • 1School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.



Assess efficacy and acceptability of reduced intensity constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) in children with cerebral palsy (CP).


Single-subject research design and semi-structured interviews. Children (9-11y) with hemiplegia underwent five baseline assessments followed by two weeks CIMT. Six further assessments were performed during treatment and follow-up phases. The primary outcome was the Melbourne Assessment of Unilateral Upper Limb Function (MUUL). Quantitative data were analysed using standard single-subject methods and qualitative data by thematic analysis.


Four of the seven participants demonstrated statistically significant improvements in MUUL (3-11%, p < .05). Two participants achieved significant improvements in active range of motion but strength and tone remained largely unchanged. Qualitative interviews highlighted limitations of the restraint, importance of family involvement, and coordination of treatment with education.


Reduced intensity CIMT may be effective for some children in this population; however it is not suitable for all children with hemiplegia.


Cerebral palsy; children; constraint therapy; treatment; upper limb

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