Bimanual training and constraint-induced movement therapy in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: a randomized trial

Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2011 Oct;25(8):692-702. doi: 10.1177/1545968311402508. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


Background: Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) promotes hand function using intensive unimanual practice along with restraint of the less-affected hand. CIMT has not been compared with a treatment with equivalent dosing frequency and intensity in children with cerebral palsy (CP).

Objectives: The authors report a randomized trial comparing CIMT and a bimanual intervention (hand-arm intensive bimanual therapy; HABIT) that maintains the intensity of practice associated with CIMT but where children are engaged in functional bimanual tasks.

Methods: A total of 42 participants with hemiplegic CP between the ages of 3.5 and 10 years (matched for age and hand function) were randomized to receive 90 hours of CIMT or an equivalent dosage of functional bimanual training (HABIT) conducted in day-camp environments. A physical therapist blinded to treatment allocation tested hand function before and after treatment. The primary outcomes were changes in Jebsen-Taylor Test of Hand Function (JTTHF) and Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA) scores. Secondary measures included the Goal Attainment Scale (GAS).

Results: Both the CIMT and HABIT groups demonstrated comparable improvement from the pretest to immediate posttest in the JTTHF and AHA (P < .0001), which were maintained at 6 months. GAS, however, revealed greater progress toward goals for the HABIT group (P < .0001), with continued improvement across test sessions for both groups (P < .0001).

Conclusions: Both CIMT and bimanual training lead to similar improvements in hand function. A potential benefit of bimanual training is that participants may improve more on self-determined goals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hand / physiopathology
  • Hemiplegia / complications
  • Hemiplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Restraint, Physical / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome