Julia Looper, PT, PhD
Background: Infants with Down Syndrome (DS) are typically delayed in ambulation and motor development. The effects of center-based treadmill training (TT) on the rate of development in infants with DS are documented in children who are pulling to stand. However, evidence is lacking on TT effects below this developmental level at onset.
Purpose: To explore the impact of a center-based TT program on an infant with DS who is unable to pull to stand.
Methods: The participant was unable to pull to stand at onset of the case study. Initial exam consisted of anthropometric measurements, walking 5 minutes on TM, and administration of the GMFM-Motor sections B-E. Interventions included 2 x 20-minute sessions of TT per week for 8 weeks. Post-intervention testing was identical to pre-intervention testing.
Results: No change was seen in the number of steps taken (10.2 steps/min at initial, 9 steps/min at final). The infant’s GMFM part B score increased 21 points, part C increased 10 points, and by the second week, she tolerated 20-minutes of stepping in the allotted 30 minute session.
Conclusion: While the infant had unremarkable change in steps/min, she improved sitting balance and developed the ability to transition into the quadruped position. This indicates TT may be beneficial for core and lower extremity neuromuscular development, but 2 months of intervention may not be enough time for a child to gain the ability to walk. She tolerated 20 minutes of stepping by week 2 of intervention, proving TT could be an effective center-based treatment.
University of Puget Sound
Calhoun, Amber SPT; Halle, Summer SPT; and Looper, Julia PT, PhD, "Center-Based Treadmill Training for an Infant with Down Syndrome Not Yet Pulling to Stand" (2020). Physical Therapy Research Symposium. 56.