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Mobility Training to Improve Motor Behavior in Toddlers With or at Risk for Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Study

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01253083
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 3, 2010
Last Update Posted : August 14, 2019
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:


- People who have cerebral palsy often have difficulty walking and moving their legs. Cerebral palsy is sometimes not identified until a child is almost 2 years of age, which means that early motor skill development can be affected and can have repercussions for later development. Studies in adults with neurological injuries (e.g., stroke, spinal cord injury) have shown that it is important to start intensive therapy soon after the injury, and it may be true that starting intensive therapy at a young age will be helpful for children with cerebral palsy. Researchers are interested in testing the effectiveness of a special body weight support system for mobility training in young children who have or are at risk for cerebral palsy.


- To study the effectiveness of a mobility training program on the motor skills of young children who have or are at risk for cerebral palsy.


- Children between 12 and 36 months of age who have delayed motor skills and either have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy or show evidence of spasticity or brain damage.


  • This study involves two 6-week study phases: a baseline phase and a mobility training program.
  • Participants will be screened with a physical examination and medical history.
  • During the baseline phase, participants will have mobility testing sessions once every 2 weeks. These tests will measure motor development and ability, including ease and speed of walking.
  • Participants' parents/guardians will receive a mobility sensor for the child to wear at home for at least 6 hours (awake time) to measure activity and mobility levels outside of the testing sessions.
  • After 6 weeks of baseline testing, participants will have 6 weeks of mobility training for 30 minutes 3 days per week. Training will involve motor tasks with weight support, conducted by a pediatric physical therapist. Activities may include walking, climbing inclines or steps, or squatting to reach toys. All sessions will be videotaped.
  • To evaluate the effects of the therapy program, participants will have testing sessions every 2 weeks.
  • Parents/guardians will also complete questionnaires to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the therapy program.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Developmental Delay Cerebral Palsy Behavioral: mobility training with dynamic body weight support Phase 1

Detailed Description:
The purpose of this pilot study is to test the feasibility and effects of a functional mobility training program on the motor ability and physical activity of young children who are developmentally delayed and at risk for cerebral palsy (CP). The study includes a sample of 10 participants between 12-36 months of age who have at least a 4 month motor delay and are at risk for CP in a single-subject research design with repeated measures during baseline and intervention phases. Participants will have biweekly assessments during the 6 week baseline phase and the subsequent 6 week mobility training phase, followed by a final assessment after 6 weeks of treatment withdraw. Assessments and training will occur in the Functional and Applied Biomechanics (FAB) section. The mobility training program consists of three days per week of 30 minute treatment sessions using dynamic body weight support during a variety of functional motor tasks. Children will be assisted, but not limited, by the dynamic weight support system while they are encouraged to participate in a variety of age-appropriate mobility tasks. It is hypothesized that this system combined with the functional activity practice will facilitate the development of postural control and strength, and thereby improve walking ability. The primary outcome measures are completion rate and gross motor ability as measured by the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM). Secondary outcome measures include the amount of gross motor delay as measured by the Bayley Motor Scale (BMS),, the Functional Mobility Scale (FMS), spatiotemporal gait measures, and amount of physical activity in daily life. Results of this pilot study will be used to refine the mobility training program, evaluate the appropriateness of the selected outcome measures, and to provide preliminary data for a larger scale clinical trial.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 5 participants
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Mobility Training to Improve Motor Behavior in Toddlers With or at Risk for Cerebral Palsy - A Pilot Study
Study Start Date : November 15, 2010
Actual Primary Completion Date : June 6, 2014
Actual Study Completion Date : June 6, 2014

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in motor delay

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Completion rate, change in gross motor function, change in functional mobility, change in walking speed, change in physical activity

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Months to 36 Months   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

    1. 12-36 months of age
    2. greater than or equal to 4 months of gross motor delay corrected for gestational age (measured by Bayley Motor Scale)
    3. Diagnosis of bilateral spastic cerebral palsy OR neurological evidence of spasticity or brain damage
    4. Ability to pull to stand at a surface without assistance
    5. Cognitive ability to follow one-step commands
    6. Availability to return to NIH CC with parent or caregiver for required treatment and assessment sessions


  1. Unilateral cerebral palsy
  2. Secondary orthopedic, neuromuscular or cardiovascular condition unrelated to CP
  3. Greater than six months of independent walking experience
  4. History of surgery or injury to the lower extremities in the past 6 months

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01253083

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United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
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Principal Investigator: Diane L Damiano, Ph.D. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

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Responsible Party: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) Identifier: NCT01253083     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 110037
First Posted: December 3, 2010    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 14, 2019
Last Verified: April 14, 2016
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Developmental Delay
Cerebral Palsy
Early Walking
Postural Control
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Cerebral Palsy
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms
Brain Damage, Chronic
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases