Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood physical disability with 40% of children with CP having hemiplegic cerebral palsy (HCP), the most common subtype. HCP leads to significant arm and hand impairment with lifelong participation and well-being impacts for the child and family. Research suggests when the injured brain in infants with HCP is exposed to early motor based intervention the brain is capable of reorganizing neural motor pathways leading to improved arm and hand use. A recent randomized study from Sweden showed Baby Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (Baby CIMT) is a proven safe and effective motor based early intervention and when provided during the first year of life leads to improved arm and hand function in infants at risk for HCP.
Despite the evidence for early Baby CIMT it has had limited implementation into clinical practice. An evidence based Baby CIMT program is not available in Canada. Holland Bloorview designed and launched a Canadian shared clinic model to address this gap in service connecting key stakeholders such as neonatal follow-up clinics, community therapists, early interventionists, and families with infants at risk of HCP. The innovative Baby CIMT Clinic Program provides early standardized assessment for arm and hand function and rapid access to evidence based Baby CIMT. The clinic sustains Baby CIMT by offering support to therapists, early interventionists, and families in the implementation of Baby CIMT.