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Physical therapy interventions for gross motor skills in people with an intellectual disability aged 6 years and over: a systematic review



Physical therapy interventions for gross motor skills in people with an intellectual disability aged 6 years and over: a systematic review



International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare 14(4): 166-174



The systematic review was undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of physical therapy interventions for improving gross motor skills (GMSs) in people with an intellectual disability aged 6 years and older. There is a lack of physical therapy research for GMSs in this population, and no prior systematic review. People with an intellectual disability may require specific teaching approaches within therapy interventions to accommodate their cognitive and learning needs. People with an intellectual disability who suffer from GMS deficits can benefit from physical therapy to help improve their GMSs. Data sources were PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, and ProQuest. Reference lists of relevant identified articles were also hand searched. Papers published in English from 1 January 2008 to 22 October 2014 were considered for inclusion. This start date was chosen to reflect the tenets of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was ratified in 2008.Eligible study designs for inclusion were randomized controlled trial (RCT), pseudo-RCT, repeated measures, and case report. Overall, 887 potential articles were identified, of which 42 were retrieved for full-text review, and seven were finally included. Critical appraisal was independently conducted by two reviewers using the Joanna Briggs Institute appraisal checklists; no articles were excluded following critical appraisal. Data extraction was performed using Joanna Briggs Institute Meta-Analysis of Statistics Assessment and Review Instrument data extraction instruments. High heterogeneity between the studies precluded meta-analysis of the results; a narrative synthesis was completed instead. Two RCTs, two pseudo-RCTs, two repeated measures studies, and one case report were included. Studies varied in regard to participants' intellectual disability, and the clinical interventions used. Interventions were well tolerated with negligible adverse effects. Significant improvements were reported for cadence and nondimensionalized gait velocity following body-weight-supported gait training; cadence following lower limb strengthening exercises; and the Gross Motor Function Measure-88 measures following adapted judo training. These results suggest that task-specific training may be useful. However, the overall quality of evidence was low. The evidence identified by this systematic review supporting physical therapy for improving GMSs in people with an intellectual disability was limited because of the low quality of studies (only two were RCTs) and only three statistically significant findings. Given the current paucity of evidence, a future systematic review, which sought to identify evidence regarding interventions used by a range of health and education professionals for improving GMSs in people with an intellectual disability, could provide a broader evidence base for clinical interventions which may be utilized by physical therapists.

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Accession: 058553495

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27259002

DOI: 10.1097/xeb.0000000000000085


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