Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

John K. Coleman

Second Advisor

K.J. Abraham

Third Advisor

Zola J. Drain


Infants with neurological disabilities, such as cerebral palsy (CP) and Down syndrome (DS), show severe delays in motor and cognitive development relative to chronological age. Involvement of neural plasticity as a treatment of such neurological disorders is increasingly being seen. Previous studies have found that interventions involving sensory linked motor performance have been critical in facilitating motor improvement. The purpose of this study was to compare self-initiated mobility in children with CP and DS. Three infants, ages 8, 9, and 22 months, with diagnoses of no CP, DS, and CP respectively, participated in the study. The infants were videotaped in 5-minute trials using the Self-Initiated Prone Progression Crawler (SIPPC), a mobility aid that assists in infant crawling. Each recorded trial was coded and scored using the Mobility Scale. Movement and speed data from the trials showed the infants with CP and DS performed with less amplitude and purpose when compared to the typically developing child. Differences were also noted in the child with CP, displaying the lowest scores in coordination and movement. Asymmetry was also noted in the initiation movements of the children with CP and DS. However, overall test scores improved over time, suggesting that the SIPPC is an effective tool, taking advantage of experience-expectant and experience-dependent characteristics of learning and skill acquisition.