Context effects on the spontaneous leg movements of infants with spina bifida

Pediatr Phys Ther. Summer 2002;14(2):62-73. doi: 10.1097/00001577-200214020-00002.


Purpose: Our understanding of the developmental profiles of infants with spina bifida (SB) is limited. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine over four months the impact of the movement context on the spontaneously produced leg movements of infants with spina bifida (SB).

Method: Six infants with lumbar or sacral SB and six infants who were developing typically were videotaped while they were supine and seated in two different infant seats.

Results: Infants with SB moved their legs less often than did the infants who are developing typically. Both groups produced the slowest, smallest leg movements when they were in a conventional infant seat, moved their legs with the greatest velocities when they were supine and in a specially designed infant seat, and with the greatest amplitudes when they were supine.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the leg movements of infants with SB emerge from the cooperative interactions of their intrinsic characteristics and their movement context.