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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014 Mar;56(3):259-66. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12364. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

Motor learning in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: feedback effects on skill acquisition.

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Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.



Motor learning is enhanced with practice and feedback. This cohort control study investigated the effect of different relative feedback frequencies during skill acquisition in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and children with typical development.


Nineteen children with spastic hemiplegic CP (nine males, 10 females; mean age 11 y 7 mo; range 8-16 y) and 20 children with typical development (12 males, eight females; mean age 10 y 8 mo; range 8-14 y) were assigned to 100% or reduced (62%) feedback subgroups as they practised 200 trials of a discrete arm movement with specific spatiotemporal parameters. Children with CP used their less involved hand. Learning was inferred by delayed (24 h) retention and reacquisition tests.


All children improved in accuracy and consistency. Children with typical development demonstrated significantly greater accuracy than children with CP during acquisition (p=0.001), retention (p=0.031), and reacquisition (p=0.001), and greater consistency during retention (p=0.038). The typically developing group who received 100% feedback performed with significantly less error than the 62% feedback group during acquisition (p=0.001), and with greater retention (p=0.017). No statistically significant difference was found between feedback subgroups of children with CP, although the 100% feedback group consistently demonstrated less error.


Children with CP use feedback in a manner similar to children with typical development when learning new skills with their less involved hand, but demonstrate less accuracy and consistency.

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