Use of Overground Supported-Stepping Devices for Non-Ambulant Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Cerebral Palsy : A Scoping Review Livingstone, Roslyn W.; Paleg, Ginny S.
Individuals with cerebral palsy functioning at Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels IV and V are unable to use hand-held walkers and require supported-stepping devices with trunk and pelvic support to allow overground stepping in natural environments. This scoping review explored what is known about the use of supported-stepping devices with individuals functioning at GMFCS IV or V. Comprehensive database and hand searches were completed in December 2022. Of 225 unique citations, 68 met the inclusion criteria: 10 syntheses and 58 primary studies including randomized, non-randomized, qualitative, observational and case study designs. Primary studies included 705 unique individuals functioning at GMFCS IV or V, aged 9 months to 47.7 years, while surveys and qualitative studies included 632 therapists. No new experimental studies have been published since previous reviews, however, lived experience and descriptive data suggest that upright positioning and mobility in supported-stepping devices have psycho-social significance with positive impacts on individual self-esteem and autonomy, as well as influencing the perception of others. Improved head and trunk control, use of hands, stepping and independent mobility may promote fitness, functioning, fun, friends, family and future, although environmental and physical challenges may limit use in adolescence and adulthood. Further research on all aspects of supported-stepping device use with individuals at GMFCS IV/V is warranted.
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