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Retrospective Analysis of Predictors of Proficient Power Mobility in Young Children With Severe Motor Impairments

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To determine if child characteristics, maternal education, intervention parameters, type of wheelchair control mechanism, or a combination of these variables were associated with proficient power mobility skills in children with severe motor impairments aged 14 to 30 months; and to determine if performance on the Wheelchair Skills Checklist (WSC) was associated with performance on the Powered Mobility Program (PMP).

      Design

      Secondary data analyses on data collected from 2 previously completed randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

      Setting

      Intervention and outcomes measurements took place in natural environments.

      Participants

      Participants included children who were assigned to the intervention groups in 2 RCTs (N=31).

      Intervention

      Children practiced maneuvering individually customized power wheelchairs for 12 months in natural environments.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Proficiency was assessed using the WSC and the PMP. The Battelle Developmental Inventory and Merrill-Palmer-Revised were used to assess baseline cognition and motor skills. Baseline mobility was assessed using the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory.

      Results

      Cognition, fine motor skills, and wheelchair control mechanism were associated with proficiency. Cognition, type of wheelchair control, and diagnosis all predicted proficiency while controlling for other covariates using multiple regression analysis. Agreement between the WSC and PMP was 94.7%.

      Conclusions

      Cognition, type of wheelchair control, and diagnosis might predict power mobility proficiency in young children with severe motor impairments. These factors however should not be used to determine whether a child has the opportunity to participate in a training program. Agreement between the WSC and PMP could help researchers and clinicians compare results across studies that use only one of these outcome measures.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      BDI (Battelle Developmental Inventory), PMP (Powered Mobility Program), RCT (randomized controlled trial), WSC (Wheelchair Skills Checklist)
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