A Novel Method to Measure Balance in Children with Cerebral Palsy

The details matter whenever working with children through their biomechanical challenges, especially children with motor disabilities, like Cerebral Palsy (CP). With the help of technology, clinicians can use objective data to help make important decisions to aid a child to improve their balance.

While force plates are a common tool to examine static standing balance, high-resolution pressure-sensitive mats, such as the Tekscan HR™ Mat, have emerged as a viable alternative to conduct balance assessments.

Research1 has shown that pressure-sensitive mats offer comparable balance assessments along with convenience, portability, and a lower cost to force plates.

In this lerEXPO presentation, Christina Bickley (PT, PhD, BOCO, C/NDT) shares her recent research on the use of plantar pressure mats in typically developing children and children with CP. Results supported the use of this technology as a reliable and valid measure of standing balance in the pediatric population. Future research is planned to expand the use of this technology. 

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About Christina Bickley

Dr. Christina Bickley began her career in 1994 at Helen Hayes Hospital in New York after graduating from the State University of New York.  Her full-time dedication to pediatrics began in 1998 after accepting a position at Texas Children’s Hospital.  In 2000, she received her NDT Certification; and, in 2006 became a certified orthotist.  Dr. Bickley began her specialization in pediatric motion analysis after transitioning to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Houston in 2010.  In 2014, Dr. Bickley accepted a position at Texas Woman’s University in Houston, where she is currently an Associate Professor in their Physical Therapy program. Dr. Bickley currently teaches pediatrics, anatomy and research to the DPT, OTD, and PhD-PT classes. 

 

(1) Bickley C, Linton J, Sullivan E, Mitchell K, Slota G, Barnes D. Comparison of simultaneous static standing balance data on a pressure mat and force plate in typical children and in children with cerebral palsy. Gait Posture. 2019 Jan;67:91-98. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.08.012. Epub 2018 Aug 16. PMID: 30308334.