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Minerva Pediatrica 2018 Feb 19

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.05041-7

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Can early physical therapy positively affect the onset of independent walking in infants with Down syndrome? A retrospective cohort study

Bruno CORRADO 1 , Nadia SOMMELLA 1, Gianluca CIARDI 1, Enza RAIANO 1, Iris SCALA 2, Pietro STRISCIUGLIO 2, Clemente SERVODIO IAMMARRONE 1

1 U.O.S.D. Fisiochinesiterapia, A.O.U. Policlinico Federico II, Naples, Italy; 2 U.O.C. Genetica Clinica Pediatrica, A.O.U. Policlinico Federico II, Naples, Italy


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BACKGROUND: The development of both gross and fine motor skills in a child with Down syndrome is generally delayed. The most seriously affected stage is the achievement of independent walking ability, which influences the onset of all following motor and cognityive skills. The study objectives were (a) to assess the time taken to achieve independent walking ability in a cohort of children with Down syndrome, (b) to examine differences in walking onset by patient characteristics, (c) to verify the effect of early physical therapy (Neurodevelopmental Treatment on the basis of Bobath Concept practised within the first months of life) in the achievement of that skill.
METHODS: A retrospective study was carried out on a cohort of 86 children with Down Syndrome. The knowledge of the exact age of walking onset and information about comorobities and rehabilitation practised since birth were the eligibility criteria.
RESULTS: The average age at which walking began in the sample was 26 months (Standard Deviation = 9.66). Some patient characteristics proved to be related negatively to the walking onset: gender male, trisomy 21, improved joint ligamentous laxity. When practised, early physical therapy was able to contrast the delay in walking.
CONCLUSIONS: NDT-Bobath is a well-known and valid instrument for a child with Down syndrome to attain his highest possible psychomotor functioning level. This study pointed out for the first time ever its capability to contrast the delay on walking onset, which can influences positively the development of the following motor and cognitive skills.


KEY WORDS: Down syndrome - Independent walking ability - Motor delay - Physical therapy - NDT-Bobath

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