McKie Splints, LLC
P.O. Box 16332
Duluth, MN 55816
toll-free within the U.S. only
|Grasp Study Spastic Cerebral
The Design: Four children, ages 2 3 ½ years
old, participated in a 1996 study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The 10-week
study examined how effective the McKie Thumb Splint was in changing grasp patterns in
children with spastic cerebral palsy.
Two of the children had hemiplegic cerebral palsy and two had quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
Despite having used other types of splints prior to the study all of the children used
abnormal or ineffective types of grasp patterns.
The study was done in natural settings. The children were videotaped twice a week in their
day cares or homes while they participated in their regular occupational, physical and/or
speech therapy. During the beginning sessions the children did not wear the splint. The
splint was then introduced during latter sessions with the families agreeing to have their
child wear the splint for 8 hours a day when the child was up and active.
Measurement: Two independent raters reviewed the
videotapes using a video-computer hook-up. They rated the grasps using a modified version
of the Erhardt Development Prehension Scales. To assure unbiased results, the raters did
not know who designed the splint and were in fact told the purpose of the study was to
look at the therapeutic effectiveness of the different types of therapists involved in the
The Results: The Koehler-Levin procedure, was used to
statistically analyze the data. (This statistical tool was chosen because it has the
capability of statistically analyzing small sample "multiple baseline" studies).
The results were that each child showed a significant improvement in grasp patterns. (p
values were between .016 and .005). From a practical point of view, the children were able
to do activities they had never done before such as remove marker caps without help or use
their two hands together to connect blocks.
In 1999, three students from the occupational therapy program at the College of St.
Scholastica reviewed the tapes from the research study described above. They looked at the
tapes of the three children in the study who had limitations in supination.
Results: As a result of wearing the splint plus
supinator strap the children gained, on average, 15 degrees of supination.
Contact McKie Splints for further information on the Grasp Study Spastic
Cerebral Palsy research.