Physicians' Beliefs in the Efficacy of Physical Therapy in the Management of Cerebral Palsy

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The purpose of this study was to examine the beliefs of physicians in the efficacy of physical therapy in the management of cerebral palsy. A stratified random sample of 200 physicians from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy was surveyed; 126 responses (63%) were received from pediatricians, neurologists, orthopedists, and physiatrists. Physical therapy outcomes thought to be highly likely included: prevention of contractures and deformities and improved postural alignment; improved independence through use of assistive, seating, and mobility devices; maintenance of motor level, improved functional abilities, and increased endurance; improved ability to profit from education; and enhanced parental ability to manage the child's physical function and cope with the social/emotional consequences of disability. Belief in negative outcomes of physical therapy was low and centered mostly on financial effects and time demands on the family.

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