Spatial rotational orientation ability in standing children with cerebral palsy

Maurizio Petrarca, Paolo Cappa, Giulia Zanelli, Michelina Armando, Enrico Castelli, Alain Berthoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study quantified perception and reorientation ability after passive horizontal rotations in thirteen children with cerebral palsy (CP). They stood barefoot on a platform in front of a fixed reference point (static posture task, SPT) and were then blindfolded and passively rotated with six velocity profiles (maximum angular velocity: 57°/s; rotation amplitudes: ±90°, ±180° and ±360°). After the perturbation, the blindfolded children were asked to point to the fixed reference point with their preferred hand (pointing task, PT) and to step back to the initial position on the stationary platform (reorientation task, RT). In order to gain further insight into rotational attitude, the results were comparatively examined with body segment rotations determined using standardized gait analysis (gait task, GT).The kinematic evaluations were conducted using an optoelectronic system: for SPT, PT and RT we confined the analysis, in the horizontal plane, to the head and upper pointing arm of the subject and to the platform; for GT a full body analysis was performed.When CP children were passively rotated towards their more affected side, they overestimated the imposed angle in PT but under-reproduced it in RT. A higher variability emerged in left-hemiplegic children, confirming that the spatial disorganization is predominantly related to right brain lesion. Patients tended to rotate in GT towards the more affected side while in RT they showed an opposite trend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-499
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Gait
  • Hemiplegia
  • Motor control
  • Perception
  • Spatial orientation
  • Turning platform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biophysics


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