An Exercise App for Young People with CP
Most young people with cerebral palsy (CP) have exercises to do. Home exercises are important for many reasons, but it is not easy for parents and therapists to get children to do regular exercise. At Ability Centre, we are evaluating an online exercise prescription tool called Physitrack® to find out how useful it is for children and adolescents with CP.
When children with cerebral palsy (CP) and other physical disabilities come for therapy, their parents set goals. To achieve these goals, they often need to do home-based exercise programs. These exercises are important for maintaining range of movement, muscle strength, postural control, balance, endurance, and sport skills.
Home-based exercise programs are not always easy to maintain when there are so many other activities to do. That’s why app-based exercise programs have been developed. They are designed to help people to keep on doing their exercises. However, there is no evidence about whether these programs are useful for children and young people with disabilities.
Physitrack® is an online, app-based exercise prescription package. It is designed to improve participation in exercises. It has videos of exercises, audio instructions, a calendar, and capacity to communicate with the therapist.
This study trialled Physitrack® with children with CP and other physical disabilities. On entering the study, children were randomly assigned to two groups. Both groups received a home exercise program from their physiotherapist, one group was given this through the Physitrack® app (or website), and the other group were given a paper-based home program.
We monitored the children and asked the parents some questions about how the program went. This will help us work out whether Physitrack® helps children meet their exercise goals. Results will become available by the end of 2018.
Rowan Johnson (Ability Centre), Noula Gibson (Ability Centre, Curtin University), Sian Williams (Curtin University), Daniel Gucciardi (Curtin University). The research was funded by Non-Government Centre Support (NGCS).
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