Effects of Adaptive Positioning on Psychological Test Scores for Preschool Children With Cerebral Palsy

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Studies suggest that adaptive positioning improves the performance of children with neuromotor impairment in areas such as speech intelligibility, upper extremity function, head control, and pulmonary function. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether positioning in therapist-recommended adaptive equipment could improve a child's performance on psychological test scores when compared with testing done without equipment. Twelve children, 17 to 58 months of age, with a diagnosis of spastic quadriplegia or diplegia, comprised the subjects for this study. After selection of the best supporting adaptive equipment, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development were administered with and without adaptive equipment by a certified psychologist. A two-period crossover design showed statistically significantly higher test scores during positioned trials. During 67% of the testing situations, the child's ability to perform fine motor tasks improved so the child was able to complete one or more of the tasks they were unable to do without positioning. Adaptive positioning seems to have a positive impact on test performance. The extent, significance, and limitations of adaptive positioning will be discussed.

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