Feasibility and Effectiveness of a Novel Exoskeleton for an Infant With Arm Movement Impairments

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine whether a novel exoskeletal device (Pediatric-Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton [P-WREX]) is feasible and effective for intervention to improve reaching and object interaction for an infant with arm movement impairments.

Methods:

An 8-month old infant with arthrogryposis was followed up every 2 weeks during a 1-month baseline, 3-month intervention, and 1-month postintervention. At each visit, reaching and looking behaviors were assessed.

Results:

Within sessions, the infant spent more time contacting objects across a larger space, contacting objects with both hands, and looking at objects when wearing the P-WREX. Throughout intervention, the infant increased time contacting objects both with and without the device and increased bilateral active shoulder flexion.

Conclusions:

(1) It may be feasible for families to use exoskeletons for daily intervention, (2) exoskeletons facilitate immediate improvements in function for infants with impaired upper extremity mobility, and (3) interventions using exoskeletons can improve independent upper extremity function across time.

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