Early Intervention and Postural Adjustments During Reaching in Infants at Risk of Cerebral Palsy

Lieke C. van Balen, Linze-Jaap Dijkstra, Tineke Dirks, Arend F. Bos, Mijna Hadders-Algra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: To investigate postural effects of the family-centered program, COPing with and CAring for infants with special needs (COPCA), applied at 3 to 6 months' corrected age in infants at high risk of cerebral palsy. Previously, we reported postural differences between the infants at risk of CP in the control group of the current study and a group of infants developing typically. Now we focus on differences between 2 intervention groups.

Methods: We explored postural adjustments during reaching in seated infants at 4, 6, and 18 months using surface electromyography of arm, neck, and trunk muscles. Infants randomly received the family-centered program or another infant physical therapy. Using videotaped intervention sessions, we investigated correlations between time spent on specific physical therapeutic actions and direction specificity, recruitment order, and anticipatory activation at 18 months.

Results: Postural adjustments in both groups were similar, but development of direction specificity and anticipatory activation in COPCA infants better mimicked typical development. These 2 parameters were associated with COPCA-type physical therapeutic actions.

Conclusions: Postural control was similar after both interventions. Positive outcomes were associated with fewer intervening actions of the therapist and greater allowance of spontaneous movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2019


  • cerebral palsy
  • early intervention
  • electromyography
  • infants
  • pediatric physical therapy
  • postural control
  • reaching


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