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The Effect of Hippotherapy on Postural Control in Sitting for Children with Cerebral Palsy

The purpose of this single subject research study was to examine the effects of a once weekly, 10-week hippotherapy program for three children, ages 27-54 months, with cerebral palsy. Participants were rated as Level V on the Gross Motor Function Classification System. The Sitting Dimension of the Gross Motor Function Measure was used to establish a baseline of sitting abilities, and was administered every 2 weeks during intervention. The Sitting Assessment Scale and the Gross Motor Function Measure were administered before, after, and 4 weeks postintervention. Parental perceptions of the hippotherapy intervention were assessed using questionnaires. None of the children made gains on any of the standardized outcome measures. Parental perceptions were very positive, with reported improvements in range of motion and head control.

 The purpose of this single subject research study was to examine the effects of hippotherapy for three young children with CP classified in Level V on the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS)

 The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of hippotherapy on three young children with CP who were unable to sit alone without external support. None of the children showed significant improvement on the SAS, GMFM-88 total score, or the GMFM-88 Dimension B. These findings support other studies suggesting that hippotherapy is less effective in improving overall gross motor function for children classified in Level V on the GMFCS.

 One variable which could have affected the results of this study was that all children required support at the trunk or used their arms to support themselves in order to ensure safe and effective positioning on the horse. Another variable which was not measured but may have had an effect is the cognitive ability of the child.

Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/J006v27n04_03

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