The effect of adaptive equipment on the oral motor function of preschoolers with cerebral palsy
DONNA REIGSTAD MS OTR*, PATRICIA DAVIES PHD OTR**, BRIAN ROGERS MD***, JOAN ARVEDSON PHD SLP****, WILLIAM GAVIN PHD*****
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Objectives
To assess the relationship between oral-motor function and seating position in children with cerebral palsy and moderate to severe functional limitations

Design: A quantitative cohort intervention study using a two-level repeated measures method.

Setting: Home and clinic.

Participants: Eighteen medically stable children ages 24 to 70 months (mean 43 months) with a primary diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Children demonstrated functional gross motor abilities ranging from level III to level V on the Gross Motor Function scale 1.
Materials/methods
Standardized oral-motor assessments (Schedule for Oral Motor AssessmentÐScreening Version, SOMA2) were performed on participants seated in chairs of varying support: one chair with minimal support had non-adjustable trunk and pelvic supports and chest and hip straps; the other was a chair with multiple adjustments and more support for the trunk, pelvis, and head, with a lap tray and hip strap. Each participant was offered four textures. The SOMA was scored via videotape by three therapists with a background in pediatric dysphagia who were blind to the purpose of the study.
Measurements and Main Results
Seventy-two percent of the children in this study had scores on the SOMA Screening Version that indicated oral-motor dysfunction for at least one texture. No significant differences in oral-motor function with any texture were found between the two chairs that offered different levels of support.
Conclusion
In this study of 18 children ages 2 to 5 years with cerebral palsy, and moderate and severe levels of gross motor dysfunction, no statistically significant differences in oral-motor function were noted in two chairs offering different levels of postural support, even when standardized scales with established levels of reliability and validity were used. Further investigation is needed regarding the relationship between positioning and oral motor function in children with varying degrees of functional limitation in oral motor and gross motor skills.
Acknowledgement
  1. Palisano R, Rosenbaum P, Walter S, Russel D, Wood E, Galuppi B. (1997) Development and reliability of a system to classify gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 39: 214Ð23.
  2. Reilly S, Skuse D, Mathisen B, Wolke D. (1995). The objective rating of oral motor function during feeding. Dysphagia 10: 177Ð191.
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