The effect of conductive education, intensive therapy, and special education services on motor skills in children with cerebral palsy

Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2003;23(3):31-50.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of intensive therapy, conductive education, and special education on function in 19 children with cerebral palsy.

Methods: Subjects participated in a five-week program of conductive education, intensive therapy, or special education. Professionals, blinded to group assignment, administered the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI), the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM), and the Fine Motor Scale of the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales before and after intervention. Professionals providing treatment and parents completed a survey about their perceptions of change in the children.

Results: ANOVA showed no statistically significant differences between groups before or after treatment. Using t-tests, statistically significant within group changes were found only for the intensive therapy group on the PEDI Self-care and Social Function scales and the Crawling and Kneeling scale of the GMFM. Individual changes from pre- to post-test were also examined and are discussed. Surveys revealed that both parents and professionals perceived improvement in all children.

Conclusions: Greatest improvements were noted in the group receiving intensive therapy, with children in all groups showing some improvement in function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education, Special / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / methods*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / instrumentation
  • Speech Therapy / methods