Family-Centered Functional Therapy—A Choice for Children with Motor Dysfunction

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The neuromaturational theoretical framework has dominated therapeutic interventions used with children with motor dysfunction for the past 40 years. Therapists are now considering other theories to guide their management strategies. Factors that have influenced this philosophical attitude change include models of disablement, the opinions of people with disabilities, a paucity of research to support current intervention techniques, the principles of family-centered care, and the application of dynamic systems theory to motor development. Family-centered functional therapy, a new model of practice based on tenets derived from family-centered philosophy and dynamic systems theory, has been introduced. This model stipulates that parents must be included in the identification of functional goals for their children and suggests that attributes that help or hinder successful achievement of a goal must be identified from the task and the environment as well as within the child. The results of pilot work with 12 children with cerebral palsy and their families to evaluate the feasibility of the therapy is presented. Areas for further evaluation and development are identified.

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