Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) consists of casting the unaffected arm for children with hemi-plegia in order to facilitate the use of the affected arm. Crossway Pediatric Therapy offers a group intensive through a summer camp called CIMT camp and we also offer individualized CIMT through the year.
Constraint-induced movement therapy, also known as CI therapy, forces the use of the affected side by restraining the unaffected side. With CIMT, the therapist constrains the child’s unaffected arm in a cast. The child then uses his or her affected arm repetitively and intensively for two to three weeks.
Dr. Edward Taub, a professor of psychology at the University of Alabama (Birmingham), developed CI therapy. He says that after a stroke, a survivor tries unsuccessfully to use the affected side. Their initial failure discourages them from using that side. Dr. Taub calls this “learned non-use.”
The therapists at Crossway Pediatric Therapy use splinting, Kinesiotaping and principles of neuroscience based frames of references to rebuild the strength and use of the affected arm while the unaffected arm is casted in order to build confidence in the child’s perception of the affected side to increase use of it.
In order to qualify for CIMT at Crossway, the child needs to be able to demonstrate active use of arm, forearm and this will set the stage for weightbearing and the shift of the brain to communicate to the effected side to facilitate active wrist extension, hand and finger use.
Currently, Crossway Pediatric Therapy is collaborating with researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill on the efficacy and long term gains from CIMT. Dr. Yael Shiloh from UNC Chapel Hill can interview your child to determine if he or she qualifies over the phone. The researchers are using functional MRIs to measure function of the brain development pre- and post-CIMT. The brain possesses neuroplasticity enabling it to overcome trauma such as stroke and regain use.
Individualized CIMT may be covered by insurance during CIMT should your child have a medical diagnosis of hemiplegia secondary to stroke, cerebral palsy, hemispherectomy, traumatic brain injury, hydrocephaly and other impairments affecting one arm or hand, but each insurance carrier is different, so you are encouraged to confirm with your health insurance carrier.
Shelley Portaro, MS, OTR/L Licensed Occupational Therapist, has been doing CIMT since 2000 and has several clients who would be happy to share with you their experience and the outcome that CIMT has made for their child. Numerous articles on CIMT by leaders in the field such as Dr. Taub and Dr. Wolf may be found on Google as they have been published in a multitude of Medical Journal articles. Additionally, you may find this article helpful.
CIMT CampOur camp at Crossway Pediatric Therapy is entering is 5th year of CIMT camp. We use a summer camp theme based curriculum of arts and crafts, sensory exploration, movement, music, self care and play to develop the function on the affected side. The camp is led by an Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Physical Therapists and a special education teacher. We take children almost 2 years old and up for the CIMT summer camp and we treat children as young as 3 months with CIMT during individual therapy. The camp is Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for three weeks. The CIMT summer camp at Crossway Pediatric Therapy is a three week program, but your child is eligible if he or she can only be present for two weeks because the evidence is suggesting that it is still effective. We recommend that the child continues to wear the cast consecutively for the three weeks for the carryover of goals and development of skills.