Category: Pediatric Rehabilitation; Technology (e.g. robotics, assistive technology, mHealth); Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)
Objective(s) : To (1) identify mobility rehabilitation devices for children under 5 years of age, (2) examine their capacity for improving mobility, and (3) report on feasibility of integrating those in real-world environments (outside of lab/clinic).
Data Sources : Systematic search of PubMed was conducted in December 2018 according to PRISMA guidelines. Search terms included: ("Child,Preschool"[Mesh]OR"Infant"[Mesh])AND("PhysicalTherapyModalities"[Mesh]OR"Rehabilitation"[Mesh])AND("Movement"[Mesh])AND("Technology"[Mesh]OR"EquipmentandSupplies"[Mesh]OR"instrumentation"[Subheading]).
Study Selection : The original search revealed 194 peer-reviewed articles, 117 of which were excluded based on title. Of the 77 remaining, 22 were excluded based on abstract. The full texts of 55 articles were reviewed to be published after 1990, targeting age 0-5, and assessing assistive technology for physical therapy/rehabilitation to combat motor impairments.
Data Extraction : Data extracted included the goal of the study, the number and ages of participants, type of technology used, measures, main findings, separate statements of device success and mobility improvements, statements of limitations, and unexpected findings.
Data Synthesis : Most studies (92.7%) reported on technology targeting lower extremity function with the most prevalent themes being the ponseti technique for clubfoot, a variety of ankle/knee/hip motion constraining orthotics, and body-weight supported treadmills. The first two pieces of technology were also used outside of the lab/clinic. Motor improvement was stated in 61.8% of the studies. Case studies accounted for 10.9%.
Conclusions : Research in rehabilitation technology has demonstrated mobility improvements. However the scope of prior work seems narrow. Technology to improve non-walking developmental milestones and upper body mobility in this age range is missing. Opportunity for future efforts includes powered-assistive devices for use outside of the clinic and for less common mobility impairments.
Joshua Haworth– Assistant Professor, Whittier College, Whittier, California
Ahmad Abulhasan– Student, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California
Victor Moran– Student, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California
Noah Steinbuch– Student, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California
Elena Kokkoni– Assistant Researcher and Adjunct Professor, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California