Assistive products and childhood neurodisability: a retrospective study on factors associated with aids/orthoses prescription

Carla Assenza, Denise Cacciatore, Mattia Manica, Marco Iosa, Calogero Foti, Tiziana Gobbetti, Stefano Paolucci, Daniela Morelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Children affected by pathologies causing neurodisability go through motor, cognitive, sensory and other limitations. The selection of assistive products can influence their level of independence and quality of life. AIM: The present study investigated the possibility to assess the equipment needs of children with neurodisabilities, based on their clinical characteristics. DESIGN: A retrospective observational study. SETTING: Outpatients. POPULATION: Inclusion criteria: diagnosis of cerebral palsy or genetic/chromosomal/syndromic disorders, age range 0-18 years, intelligence quotient evaluation, medical history of positive or negative presence of epilepsy and of communication disorders, admission at our neurorehabilitation service between 2007 and 2017, and registration of all equipment prescribed to each child. METHODS: In 192 children (111 males, 57.81%) we evaluated the relationship between several independent variables (diagnosis, sex, Gross Motor Function Classification System level, intelligence quotient, history of epilepsy and communication disorders) and equipment prescription by means of logistic regression models. RESULTS: Our data showed significant correlation between the Gross Motor Function Classification System level and the equipment prescribed. A history of seizures was negatively correlated with walker prescriptions (the log odds of prescription decreases by -2.156; CI: -4.16 to -0.65) and positively with those of stroller (the log odds increases by 1.427; CI: 0.22 to 2.69). Stroller and knee-ankle-foot orthoses and hip-knee-ankle-foot orthoses prescriptions were negatively correlated with the cerebral palsy diagnosis. The prescription of foot orthoses was positively correlated with mental retardation (the log odds increases by 0.358; CI: 0.12 to 0.61). A negative correlation between communication disorders and the prescription of ankle-foot orthoses and communication/learning devices was also found (the log odds decreases by -0.833; CI -1.66 to -0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Several clinical characteristics correlate with specific equipment needs. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The definition of the clinical characteristics with a potential predicting value, may facilitate the task of physician on choosing what is more appropriate to prescribe, as well as the authorizing office responsible for evaluating the appropriateness of prescriptions. Furthermore, it could be possible to foresee the care needs in terms of type and number of aids/orthoses and to guarantee every disabled child the possibility to take advantage of the same opportunities. (Cite this article as: Assenza C, Cacciatore D, Manica M, Iosa M, Foti C, Gobbetti T, et al. Assistive products and childhood neurodisability: a retrospective study on factors associated with aids/orthoses prescription.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-420
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Disability evaluation
  • Disabled children
  • Equipment
  • Self-help devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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