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Rhythm and Reaching: The Influence of Rhythmic Auditory Cueing in a Goal-Directed Reaching Task With Adults Diagnosed With Cerebral Palsy

Jacqueline C. Ladwig, Tamires C. do Prado, Stephanie J. Tomy, Jonathan J. Marotta, and Cheryl M. Glazebrook

Improvements in functional reaching directly support improvements in independence. The addition of auditory inputs (e.g., music, rhythmic counting) may improve goal-directed reaching for individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). To effectively integrate auditory stimuli into adapted teaching and rehabilitation protocols, it is necessary to understand how auditory stimuli may enhance limb control. This study considered the influence of auditory stimuli during the planning or execution phases of goal-directed reaches. Adults (with CP = 10, without CP = 10) reached from a home switch to two targets. Three conditions were presented—no sound, sound before, and sound during—and three-dimensional movement trajectories were recorded. Reaction times were shorter for both groups in the sound before condition, while the group with CP also reached peak velocity relatively earlier in the sound before condition. The group with CP executed more consistent movements in both sound conditions. Sound presented before movement initiation improved both the planning and execution of reaching movements for adults with CP.