The evaluation of the Conductive Education program and the implementation of a Cognitive Stimulation program in a home for children with developmental disabilities in a rural area of South Africa
Westrhenen, N. van
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Introduction: A Conductive Education (CE) program and a Cognitive Stimulation (CS) program were implemented in Sizanani Children’s Home, a residential facility in South Africa for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities, most of them diagnosed as cerebral palsy. The effect of one year CE on the development of functional skills and the effect of three months CS on play abilities were evaluated. Methods: The CE program included 39 participants in the age of 8 to 33 years, whereas the CS program included 18 participants in the age of 8 to 30 years. Gross motor functioning was assessed with the Gross Motor Functioning Classification System (GMFCS), whereas the functional skills were assessed with either the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) or the Goal Attainment Scale (GAS) and with the Functional Motor Assessment Scale (FMAS) and the Level of intervention Observation Instrument (LOI). For the CS program the Play Observation Scale (POS) was developed to measure play abilities. The CS program had two experimental conditions; one with and one without social interaction, in addition to a control condition. Results: One year of CE showed an improvement in the functional motor abilities of the participants measured with the GAS and FMAS. According to the PEDI, functional skills only improved in Caregiver Assistance in the Self-care scale, whereas the LOI showed an improvement in functional skills in dressing. No relation was found between the change in functional skills measured with the FMAS and the LOI and the level of gross motor functioning measured with the GMFCS. The CS program resulted in a non-significant improvement of the play abilities of the participants in the two experimental conditions. Conclusion: The results show that continuation of the CE program is beneficial for the functional skills of the children and young adults of Sizanani Children’s Home. The effectiveness of the CS program at a longer term has to be awaited.