Biotechnology

The ACQUIRE therapy framework demonstrates outcomes for intensive pediatrics

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Virginia Tech researchers with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC have shown that children with a variety of diagnoses that affect their motor function improve after receiving intensive pediatric neurohabitation called ACQUIRE Therapy.

Virginia Tech researchers with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC have shown that children with a variety of diagnoses that affect their motor function improve after receiving intensive pediatric neurohabitation called ACQUIRE Therapy.

These findings were published in June in Behavioral Science and will be included in a future special issue of the journal devoted to “shifting the therapeutic paradigm for children with neuromotor disabilities to maximize development.”

“We present a wealth of clinical data, and also describe the framework for intensive therapy that we have developed over the last 20 years,” said Stephanie DeLuca, professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. “Our research highlights the need for standardized methodologies and training for therapists to maximize the effectiveness of intensive therapy.”

The study was authored by Mary Rebekah Trucks and Dory Wallace, both associate directors and therapists at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Neuromotor Research Clinic, and clinic co-directors DeLuca and Sharon Landesman Ramey.

ACQUIRE therapy was originally developed two decades ago by DeLuca and Landesman Ramey, together with Karen Echols, a colleague at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a form of Restraint Induced Movement (CIMT) therapy.

Since then DeLuca, Trucks, Wallace, and Landesman Ramey have worked together to further develop the ACQUIRE Framework and Model of Therapy to be much broader than CIMT.

“Actual teaching over time, and the importance of the therapist having a dynamic awareness of the environment and knowing how to take advantage of it, is extremely important,” said Landesman Ramey, research professor and distinguished researcher of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.

“The science behind ACQUIRE’s high-intensity form of training often focuses on high doses – a number of hours in therapy each day for several weeks,” says Landesman Ramey, who is also a faculty member of the Virginia Department of Psychology. College of Science Technology. “That’s important, but there’s more to it than that.”

This new paper covers the results of the ACQUIRE Therapy given to children aged 7 months to 20 years with various motor disorders, including hemiparesis and quadriparesis, which describe varying degrees of weakness or partial paralysis in the body.

The study findings revealed functional improvement across various diagnostic categories, including cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, arteriovenous malformation, hemispherectomy, and others.

Because clinical populations are so diverse, therapy often requires a tailored approach to be effective.

“The ACQUIRE treatment framework and overall treatment model provide therapists with multiple decision-making guidelines that can be used across diagnoses and types of motor disorders,” said DeLuca, who is also affiliated with the School of Neuroscience of the Virginia Tech College of Science. “It also provides a platform for providing additional training to therapists to apply this intensive therapy approach effectively.”

Going forward, this research requires further standardization of methodologies and decision-making processes in the delivery of intensive therapy to ensure consistent and effective results.

By translating research findings into practice and investing in the training of therapists, the field of pediatric neurorehabilitation can forge ahead and provide high-quality, intensive therapy to children with motor impairments resulting from brain injury or disorders, the authors say.


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