Randomized Controlled Trial of Physiotherapy in 56 Children With Cerebral Palsy Followed for 18 Months

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2001 Jan;43(1):4-15. doi: 10.1017/s0012162201000020.


This study aimed to determine whether motor function and performance is better enhanced by intensive physiotherapy or collaborative goal-setting in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Participants were a convenience sample of 56 children with bilateral CP classified at level III or below on the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), aged between 3 and 12 years. A 2 x 2 factorial design was used to compare the effects of routine amounts of physiotherapy with intensive amounts, and to compare the use of generalized aims set by the child's physiotherapist with the use of specific, measurable goals negotiated by the child's physiotherapist with each child, carer, and teacher. Following the six-month treatment period there was a further six-month period of observation. Changes in motor function and performance were assessed by a masked assessor using the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) and the Gross Motor Performance Measure (GMPM) at three-month intervals. There was no statistically significant difference in the scores achieved between intensive and routine amounts of therapy or between aim-directed and goal-directed therapy in either function or performance. Inclusion of additional covariates of age and severity levels showed a trend towards a statistically significant difference in children receiving intensive therapy during the treatment period. This advantage declined over the subsequent six months during which therapy had reverted to its usual amount. Differences in goal-setting procedures did not produce any detectable effect on the acquisition of gross motor function or performance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome