Cerebral Palsy and Early Intervention: The effects of early lower extremity orthotic intervention on gross motor functional outcomes

Date of Award

Summer 7-5-2023

Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics



First Advisor

Dr. Lana Huberty


Cerebral palsy is a complex neuromotor disorder characterized by movement, muscle tone, and posture impairments resulting from brain damage. This study provides an overview of the diagnostic and treatment tools for cerebral palsy. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in leveraging the neuroplasticity of the developing brain. However, a notable limitation in the current literature is the lack of inclusion of young children and pre-ambulatory children with cerebral palsy. The majority of studies focus on older children, hindering a comprehensive understanding of the impact of orthotic intervention on pre-ambulatory children. This study proposes that early orthotic intervention for cerebral palsy can lead to more significant gains in gross motor skills when compared to those provided orthotics at a later age, in addition to facilitating earlier ambulation by harnessing the neuroplasticity of the developing brain. This study advocates for early orthotic intervention to enhance overall functional outcomes in individuals with cerebral palsy, emphasizing the benefits of leveraging neuroplasticity through timely interventions. Bridging this knowledge gap is essential to provide appropriate orthotic interventions for those with cerebral palsy during the early stages of gross motor development.

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