Constraint Induced (CI) Therapy

What is Constraint Induced Therapy?

Constraint Induced (CI) Therapy for the upper extremity is an intensive individualized therapy program provided by an Occupational Therapist (OT). CI Therapy is effective for children who have limited use of one arm and hand. This program accelerates functional use of the affected arm and hand by using specific exercises to allow the child to learn new & correct patterns of movement. The brain is taught to "rewire" itself.

Goals of CI Therapy

  • Improve quality of movement in the affected arm and hand
  • Improve use of the affected arm and hand in activities of daily living (self-care, feeding, & dressing)
  • Improve coordination skills
  • Improve fine motor skills

Program Overview

A specially trained OT will create a treatment plan specific to each child’s needs. The higher functioning arm is put in a temporary cast to allow the affected arm to perform activities & exercises. These therapeutic “shaping” activities allow the child to form new and more correct movements with that arm and increase its use for function. The program is currently located at our Main Campus location and includes three-hour sessions, five days a week, for three weeks. Additionally, caregivers will perform extensive home exercises daily as instructed by the OT.

This program has been researched extensively revealing that, six months after program completion, children maintain the majority of the skills they gained in the CI program.

Who is a Candidate?

  • Children 2 years or older
  • Children with limited functional use of one hand and arm
  • Children with diagnoses that may include Cerebral Palsy, stroke, head injury, brachial plexus injury, etc.
  • Children who are able to follow directions and maintain attention for at least 15 minutes
  • Children whose caregivers are available to participate in therapy sessions as well as extensive home programming

How Do I Get Started?

Contact the All Children’s Hospital Occupational Therapy department at 727-767-4257. Complete an application to determine if your child is a candidate for CI Therapy. Discuss this with your pediatrician, as a prescription is required for this program.