Recent research compared energy costs during walking and movement initiation times in 3-5 year old children with developmental delay (n=12) and children with typical development (n=12). The children paticipated in various assessments including range of motion in the lower extremities, physiological cost of walking, and movement initiation times. To determine reaction time for goal directed walking a task was designed to evaluate the initiation of movement (the “go play with the toy” task).
The results showed the following:
1. physiological costs of walking were similar in the 2 groups.
2. children with developmental delay walked at a lower speed than children with typical development.
3. children with developmental delay took more time to initiate goal-directed walking.
The researchers recommended that therapists should evaluate the movement initiation ability of 3- to 5-year-old children with developmental delay as part of the design of an overall intervention plan.
Reference: C-N. Chen, PT, PhD et al. Initiation of Movement and Energy Expenditure in Children With Developmental Delay: A Case-Control Study. Published online before print 5 June 2014 doi: 10.2522/ptj.20130443 Physical Therapy October 2014 vol. 94 no. 10 1434-1442