Updated: Feb 19
Children who experience neuromuscular impairments as a result of various diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, stroke, and acute flaccid myelitis often experience weakness on a specific side of the body. CIMT is an intervention approach that involves constraining the stronger arm and hand in order to encourage more spontaneous use of the weaker side. CIMT is an innovative upper extremity intervention approach. This all sounds great, but what does CIMT mean?
C - Constraint
I - Induced
M - Movement
T - Therapy
A constraint is something that effectively restrains the less affected arm. This can mean either a sock, splint, or a cast. At the BAC, we have a trained clinician construct a custom made bi-valve cast for the child. You may wonder how a child can tolerate a cast? Well...it’s not just a cast...It’s a princess glove! A super shield! Or a lightsaber! Just because this intervention involves the improvement of function and strength doesn’t mean that it has to be boring! Like any therapeutic intervention, CIMT looks at the child holistically in order to recognize what will motivate the child to utilize the affected upper extremity. We often utilize play and highly preferred games and toys in order to help encourage this movement.
In order for us to provide this type of intervention, it is important for the BAC team to be well versed and up to date on current research surrounding CIMT practices. CIMT is an ever-changing intervention, and new innovations and research studies are constantly in motion. In order to maximize our knowledge here at the BAC, we all took advantage of our time at home during recent weeks in order to learn more about CIMT by taking a continuing education course provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association. Course objectives included defining pediatric CIMT, describing research that informs the best practice of pediatric CIMT, describing the process for cast construction, and identifying key components of CIMT intervention including dosage, intensity, frequency, and reinforcement.
In order to make sure all clinicians at the BAC are well versed in the casting process, BAC occupational therapist, Meg, created a tutorial video for our clinicians. Here is a sneak peek!!
Changes for CIMT at the BAC due to COVID 19:
Summertime at the BAC usually means we are deep into our intensive therapy camp, which often involves the utilization of Constraint Induced Movement Therapy. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are not able to continue with camps as usual, but CIMT is still a major part of services at the BAC! We are offering individual intensives for children who would benefit from this type of intervention approach, such as:
Children who were born with or have developed neuromuscular impairments on one or both sides of their body that impact their daily independent function. Any child working on improving the neurological function of his/her affected upper or lower extremity, to meet fine and gross motor goals is appropriate for CIMT.
Some diagnoses include but are not limited to: Cerebral Palsy, Hemiplegia, Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Acute Flaccid Myelitis, Peripheral Motor Neuron Disorders, and Genetic Syndromes.
To see if an intensive CIMT program may be the right fit for your child, please call
781-239-0100 or email us to speak with one of our clinicians!
Taub E, Ramey SL, DeLuca S, Echols K. Efficacy of constraint induced movement therapy for children with cerebral palsy with asymmetric motor impairment. Pediatrics. 2004 Feb 1;113(2):305-12
Persch, A. Pediatric Constraint Induced Movement Therapy, Evidence Informed Practice. American Occupational Therapy Association. 2020 May 19.