LEARN 2 MOVE 0-2 years: effects of a new intervention program in infants at very high risk for cerebral palsy; a randomized controlled trial

T. Hielkema, E.G. Hamer, H.A. Reinders-Messelink, C.G.B. Maathuis, A.F. Bos, T. Dirks, L. van Doormaal, J. Verheijden, C. Vlaskamp, E. Lindeman, M. Hadders-Algra

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Background: It is widely accepted that infants at risk for cerebral palsy need paediatric physiotherapy. However, there is little evidence for the efficacy of physiotherapeutic intervention. Recently, a new intervention program, COPCA (Coping with and Caring for infants with special needs - a family centered program), was developed. COPCA has educational and motor goals. A previous study indicated that the COPCA-approach is associated with better developmental outcomes for infants at high risk for developmental disorders. LEARN 2 MOVE 0-2 years evaluates the efficacy and the working mechanisms of the COPCA program in infants at very high risk for cerebral palsy in comparison to the efficacy of traditional infant physiotherapy in a randomized controlled trial. The objective is to evaluate the effects of both intervention programs on motor, cognitive and daily functioning of the child and the family and to get insight in the working elements of early intervention methods.

Methods/design: Infants are included at the corrected age of 1 to 9 months and randomized into a group receiving COPCA and a group receiving traditional infant physiotherapy. Both interventions are given once a week during one year. Measurements are performed at baseline, during and after the intervention period and at the corrected age of 21 months. Primary outcome of the study is the Infant Motor Profile, a qualitative evaluation instrument of motor behaviour in infancy. Secondary measurements focus on activities and participation, body functions and structures, family functioning, quality of life and working mechanisms. To cope with the heterogeneity in physiotherapy, physiotherapeutic sessions are video-recorded three times (baseline, after 6 months and at the end of the intervention period). Physiotherapeutic actions will be quantified and related to outcome.

Discussion: LEARN 2 MOVE 0-2 years evaluates and explores the effects of COPCA and TIP. Whatever the outcome of the project, it will improve our understanding of early intervention in children with cerebral palsy. Such knowledge is a prerequisite for tailor-made guidance of children with CP and their families.

Trial registration: The trial is registered under NTR1428.

Original languageEnglish
Article number76
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 2-Nov-2010



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