Virtual reality as a therapeutic modality for children with cerebral palsy

Dev Neurorehabil. 2010;13(2):120-8. doi: 10.3109/17518420903357753.


Objective: The evidence for using virtual reality (VR) with children with cerebral palsy (CP) was examined.

Methods: A search of 13 electronic databases identified all types of studies examining VR as an intervention for children with CP. The most recent article included was published in October 2008. For each study, the quality of the methods was assessed using the appropriate scale. A total of 19 articles were retrieved. Thirteen studies from 11 articles were included in the final analysis.

Results: Outcomes documented brain reorganization/plasticity, motor capacity, visual-perceptual skills, social participation and personal factors. Two studies were randomized controlled trials. These reported conflicting results regarding motor outcomes. Twelve of the 13 studies presented positive outcomes in at least one domain.

Conclusions: VR has potential benefits for children with CP. However, the current level of evidence is poor and empirical data is lacking. Future methodologically rigorous studies are required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Palsy / psychology
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Motivation
  • Motor Skills
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Visual Perception