Effects of task-oriented training on mobility function in children with cerebral palsy

Yasser Salem, Ellen M. Godwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Improvement in mobility function has been the primary goal in the rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy. Few studies have examined the effectiveness of task-oriented strength training for children with cerebral palsy. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of task-oriented strength training on mobility function in children with cerebral palsy. Study design: A single-blind, randomized controlled trial with pre-training and post-training evaluations. Materials and methods: Ten children with cerebral palsy (GMFCS levels I-III) were randomly assigned to an experimental group (N = 5) or control group (N = 5). Mobility function was assessed using the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) and the Timed "Up and Go" (TUG) test. Participants in the control group received conventional physical therapy focused on improving walking and balance through facilitation and normalization of movement patterns. Participants in the experiment group received task-oriented strength training focused on strengthening the lower extremities and practicing functional tasks similar to those the child performs during daily activities. Results: After the 5-week training period there were significant improvements in the experimental group for dimension D (p = 0.009), and dimension E (p = 0.009) of the GMFM. The experimental group significantly reduced the time taken to complete the TUG (p = 0.017). Conclusion/Significance: This study supports the efficacy of task-oriented strength training for improving mobility function in children with cerebral palsy. The findings demonstrate that the application of a task-oriented strength training program is linked to positive functional outcomes. The results suggest that children with cerebral palsy may benefit from a task-oriented strength training program. Further studies with a larger randomized sample and longer post-intervention follow-up are necessary to document the long-term effects of participation in task-oriented strength training programs in the cerebral palsy population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 Aug 2009


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Mobility function
  • Strength training
  • Task-oriented training


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