This article reviews the role of augmented biofeedback as a treatment aid for selected neuromuscular problems in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy. Neuromuscular dysfunction often prevents those inflicted with cerebral palsy from performing even simple tasks of daily activity. Research has evaluated the role of augmented biofeedback in reducing this neuromuscular dysfunction. Augmented feedback, on the whole, has been successful in improving head and neck posture, reducing hypertonicity, and improving weight-bearing during gait, hand-eye coordination, sitting posture, and drooling. However, most studies have shown that the carry-over without feedback was limited. Moreover, the generalization to real-life situations often was not demonstrated. The sample size in most studies was very small. Future research should address the adequate number of training sessions needed to produce an improvement and consider the mode and type of feedback appropriate for a given subject. Augmented biofeedback appears to have important implications in the treatment of those with cerebral palsy.
Robert James is with the Department of Exercise Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.