Work Type




Faculty Advisor

Julia Looper, PT, PhD


Title: The Influence of a Supine Kicking Intervention on Infants with Down Syndrome Compared to Typically Developing Infants

Authors: Kara Schimke, SPT1; Bryana Pardo, SPT1; Kaylee Redmann, SPT1; Kimberly Mahoney, SPT1; Julia Looper, PT, PhD1

Affiliation(s): 1. School of Physical Therapy, University of Puget Sound

Purpose: Without intervention, infants with Down syndrome (DS) initiate walking one year later than their typically developing peers (TD). Supine kicking is an essential foundation for the development of walking due to similarities between the movement patterns. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a kick-toy intervention on the frequency of purposeful kicks in infants with DS. We hypothesized that the kick-toy intervention would increase the frequency of purposeful kicks in infants with DS, as was shown in previously-collected data for TD infants, but to a lesser degree.

Methods: Three infants with DS and five TD infants aged 3-5 months were studied. Researchers met with each participant and their family one time before the intervention and one time at the end of the 8 week intervention. Families were instructed to use the tick-toy at home for 20 minutes a day, 5 days per week, for 8 weeks. For data collection, the infants were videotaped for 5 minutes without the toy and 5 minutes with the toy at each visit.

Results: For data collected at 0 and 8 weeks of the study, the mean number of spontaneous and purposeful kicks was 15.29 (SD 13) and 11.58 (SD 6.38), respectively for infants with DS and 15.3 (SD 13.15) and 28.6 (SD 27.52), respectively for TD infants.

Conclusions: Although the kick-toy intervention may be effective in increasing kicking in TD infants, the same conclusions cannot be made for infants with DS due to limitations in data.


  1. Bull MJ, Committee on Genetics. Health supervision for children with down syndrome. Pediatrics. 2011;128(2):393-406.
  2. Johnson C, McCullough L, Sellmeyer C. Assessment of a kicking intervention in typically developing infants (Abstract). 2015;57(1): E31
  3. Santos GL, Bueno TB, Tudella E, Dionisio J. Influence of additional weight on the frequency of kicks in infants with Down syndrome and infants with typical development. Braz J Phys Ther. 2014 May-June; 18(3):237-244.


University of Puget Sound