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Sitting Postural Control, Focused Attention and Cerebral Palsy

Sitting, Focused Attention and Cerebral Palsy Your Therapy SourcePediatric Physical Therapy published research on whether focused attention changed as sitting postural control improved in 19 children with mild to moderate cerebral palsy (mean age 21.47 months).  Each participant was evaluated for focused attention and sitting scores pre and post intervention.  The intervention consisted of physical therapy sessions (perceptual motor training, home program and body weight supported training) to improve sitting postural control in the children.  The intervention was 45 to 60 minutes for 8 to 12 weeks at 1-2 sessions per week.


The results indicated that:

  1. children who were sitting independently showed a significant increase in the mean longest focused attention (longest period of time the child focused on an object) post-intervention.
  2.  children who were crawling post-intervention showed a significant decrease in focused attention.
  3. total focused attention significantly increased post intervention.
  4.  global focused attention (qualitative measure of the child’s interest) significantly increased post intervention in the sitters but not the crawlers.
  5.  the sitting scores on the GMFM increased significantly in all children.

Sitting postural control and the development of focused attention was associated in children with cerebral palsy.  As sitting control improves, it may be a key time for children to learn and attend to objects.  Although, early mobility may decrease long periods of focused attention.

Reference:  Surkar, Swati M. PT et al.  Sitting Postural Control Affects the Development of Focused Attention in Children With Cerebral Palsy.  Pediatric Physical Therapy.  Spring 2015 – Volume 27 – Issue 1 – p 16–22. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000097.

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