Exploration of a novel physical therapy protocol that uses a sensory substitution device to improve the standing postural balance of children with balance disorders

Swati M. Surkar, Regina Harbourne, Brad Corr, David Arpin, Max J.Kurz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To explore if an intensive balance training protocol that incorporated the BrainPort sensory substitution device improves the standing postural balance of children with balance disorders. Methods: Eight children with balance disorders received 8-weeks of balance training while using the BrainPort device. Pre- and post-intervention changes in the Bruininks–Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency balance subtest (BOT-2) scores, standing duration on an unstable surface, and center of pressure (COP) sway were assessed. Results: Post-intervention, the BOT-2 balance subtest scores increased by 29.6% and demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements. Overall, the standing duration with vision increased. The standing duration on the unstable surface without vision increased significantly from pre- to post-intervention. However, anterior-posterior (AP) and medial-lateral (ML) sway did not change post-intervention. The children also reported new functional activities (i.e. riding a bike, standing on unsteady or narrow surfaces). Conclusion: Balance training with the BrainPort sensory substitution device has the potential to result in clinically relevant improvements in the standing postural balance of children with balance disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • BrainPort
  • Posture
  • cancer
  • developmental coordination disorder
  • vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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