Research Article
Issue Date: January/February 2021
Published Online: December 07, 2020
Updated: December 14, 2020
Assistive and Rehabilitative Effects of the Playskin LiftTM Exoskeletal Garment on Reaching and Object Exploration in Children With Arthrogryposis
Author Affiliations
  • Iryna Babik, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Science, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho.
  • Andrea Baraldi Cunha, PT, PhD, is Research Associate, Department of Physical Therapy and Biomechanics and Movement Science Program, University of Delaware, Newark.
  • Michele A. Lobo, PT, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Biomechanics and Movement Science Program, University of Delaware, Newark; malobo@udel.edu
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 07, 2020
Assistive and Rehabilitative Effects of the Playskin LiftTM Exoskeletal Garment on Reaching and Object Exploration in Children With Arthrogryposis
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2020, Vol. 75, 7501205110. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.040972
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2020, Vol. 75, 7501205110. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.040972
Abstract

Importance: Children with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita are often delayed in their development of reaching and object exploration, which can place them at risk for associated delays in motor and cognitive development.

Objective: To evaluate the longitudinal assistive and rehabilitative effects of the Playskin Lift™ (hereinafter Playskin), a novel exoskeletal garment, on reaching and object exploration abilities in children with arthrogryposis.

Design: Single-case ABA design with a 1-mo baseline, 4-mo intervention, and 1-mo postintervention.

Setting: Home environment.

Participants: Seventeen children with arthrogryposis (ages 6–35 mo at first visit; 5 boys).

Intervention: Participants used the Playskin daily for 30 to 45 min while participating in structured intervention activities to encourage reaching for objects across play spaces larger than they were typically able to.

Outcomes and Measures: Participants were tested biweekly throughout the study with and without the Playskin using a systematic reaching assessment. Coding of reaching and object exploration behavior was performed using OpenSHAPA software; statistical analyses were conducted using Hierarchical Linear and Nonlinear Modeling software. Feasibility of the Playskin for daily home intervention was evaluated with a parent perception questionnaire.

Results: Positive assistive effects (improved performance when wearing the Playskin within sessions) and rehabilitative effects (improved independent performance after the Playskin intervention) were observed with increased active range of motion, expanded reaching space, improved grasping with the ventral side of the open hand, and greater complexity and multimodality and intensity of object exploration.

Conclusions and Relevance: The Playskin may be a feasible, effective assistive and rehabilitative device to advance object interaction and learning in young children with arthrogryposis.

What This Article Adds: The novel exoskeletal Playskin garment improves reaching and object exploration in young children with arthrogryposis.