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An exploration of well-being with children and young people with complex disabilities, and their families, from using the Innowalk

Pickering, Dawn ORCID: 2023. An exploration of well-being with children and young people with complex disabilities, and their families, from using the Innowalk. Presented at: CSP Wales Conference, Cardiff, UK, 26 October 2023.

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Purpose Children who are non-ambulant have limited opportunities for participation in physical activities to be able to exercise effectively. However, the Innowalk, a robotic device, offers a passive cycling motion, reported to have benefit for circulation and bowel function. There is a lack of a valid and reliable well-being measurement scales for children and young people with complex disabilities. This research involves observing children and young people using the Innowalk to evaluate well-being. A new scale was developed in partnership with adults living with cerebral palsy and tested in a special school setting for children and young people with complex disabilities. The aims of this project were: 1. To carry out a review of current well-being measures/checklists/scales for adults and children with complex disabilities. 2. To pilot, observe, develop and test a new observational well-being scale (WEBS) that records well-being indicators in non-verbal children and young people with complex disabilities. 3. To obtain child and parental perceptions on well-being, by written diary records and interviews following the use of the Innowalk. Methods Research question: How can the well-being of children and young people with complex disabilities be better understood, from using the Innowalk? Case study design with mixed methods. Based on observations the researcher completed the Be-Well checklist, PRIME Likert scale and the new WEBS scale on three occasions. Diaries were kept by the parents and children (where possible) and an interview was carried out with the child and their parents, exploring their perception of well-being benefits from the Innowalk. The constructs being explored (based upon PhD data) were calmness, comfort, creativity, energy levels, engagement with other people or activities, expressing joy. These data were analysed thematically. Results Ten children were recruited, four male, 6 female. Their disabilities included seven cerebral palsy, two spina bifida and one Rett's syndrome. The mean time they were in the Innowalk was 24.9 minutes, mean distance travelled was 1.4 km, mean revolutions per minute was 39.6. The interview and diary data supported improvements in sleep and bowel movements and parents expressed joy seeing their child using the Innowalk, many perceived this as exercise although it is a passive motion. The children who could speak expressed feeling calm and comfortable, enjoying this type of physiotherapy better than hands on treatment. They especially liked to engage with the staff in playing new games and described their legs feeling relaxed afterwards. The Innowalk was observed to respond to spasms by stopping and the children who could control their speed enjoyed this empowerment. Conclusion This study has identified aspects of well-being that have not been previously considered with non-ambulant children. The Innowalk demonstrated positive effects upon the children's well-being as perceived by their parents, it was technical to set up and this process would require training to be safe and effective.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Funders: Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2023 10:00

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