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Locomotor Training in Children with Spinal Cord Injury

Locomotor Training

Currently, no rehabilitation approach exists to restore walking in children or adults with severe injuries. Typically, these patients are confined to a wheelchair or their legs are braced to obtain mobility. But neither approach activates the neuromuscular system below the injury level to promote recovery.

Professor Andrea Behrman PHD of University of Louisville, Kentucky believes there is a better way. She and her team at the Reeve NeuroRecovery Network are looking for the next generation of therapies and using Locomotor Training Principles to improve the outlook for children with severe Spinal Cord Injury. 

Locomotor Training is a form of intense physiotherapy which activates the neuromuscular system below the injury level to promote recovery.

The results of Locomotor Training studies suggest that this type of physiotherapy and walking recovery may be linked to the development of other rhythmic, reciprocal lower extremity tasks that together promote healthy growth and development.

Locomotor Training requires hours of repetitive training and it is now while our son is young and his central nervous system is most ‘plastic’, that we have the best chance of successful rehabilitation.

For the past 3 US summer's Evander has traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to participate in the paediatric Locomotor Training program at Frazier Rehab Institute (in assoc. with Louisville University) under the guidence of Dr Andrea Behrman.  

While there, Clare, Evander's mother participated in the Locomotor Principles Training Course along with Kierre Williams from WalkOn. Their goal was to bring the program back here to Australia and continue the work here and expand to include more children with spinal cord injuries around Australia.

Currently, Evander receives no government assistance towards early intervention therapies. The federal government Better Start Initiative does NOT include children with a spinal cord injury in their funding model. Read more>


A great article on activity based therapy...

Spinal cord injury: big hope is cell therapy but exercise is best for now

Important Links

Frazier Rehab Institute