Work Type




Faculty Advisor

Julia Looper




Background. There is limited practical consensus among physical therapists (PTs) about which characteristics of DS are ‘PT related problems,’ and insufficient research evidence regarding what a PT intervention should entail. Purpose. Understand current PT practice for children with DS.

Methods. A survey was designed and distributed via mail to 1000 randomly selected members of the Academy of Pediatric PT. It included seven demographic questions and two open-ended questions regarding common impairments and interventions for children with DS. PTs who had not treated a patient with DS within the last year were not included in this study. Data Analysis. Responses were categorized into 14 thematic subcategories and also into 3 ICF subcategories using qualitative constant comparative method. Subcategories and demographic data were organized into charts for visual inspection and exemplar quotes were pulled for qualitative analysis. Data was also counted for qualitative measure.

Results and Discussion. 106 PTs were included in the study. Functional mobility was the most commonly identified and treated PT related problem. Upon visual inspection, differences were found between the number of clinicians who identified and treated problems in cardiopulmonary (4.6%) and joint stability (12.2%) subcategories. The majority of clinicians identified and treated at the ICF level of body functions and structure, however the results suggest clinicians often treated these impairments with activities and participation. Data revealed a diversity of interventions with variable amounts of supporting evidence. Conclusions. There is a wide variety of problems and interventions in kids with DS that are treated by pediatric PTs.


University of Puget Sound