Constraint-induced therapy (CIT), also known as constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), is designed to help children with weakness in one arm caused by pre-existing medical conditions. CIT is the only rehabilitation technique shown to help children significantly improve brain organization and hand and arm function.
Who Benefits From CIT?
Children ages 3 to 21 with weakness in one arm caused by:
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain injury
- Other neurological conditions
Eligible children have some movement in at least two major joints in their weaker arm and no severe forms of dystonia or behavioral problems.
How Does CIT Work?
A child’s stronger arm is immobilized in a cast or mitt to provide more opportunities to use the weaker arm. An occupational therapist guides the weaker arm during play sessions as well as during everyday activities like feeding and getting dressed. This helps the weaker arm grow stronger.
Children younger than 15 receive several hours of therapy each day for four weeks. Children 15 and older receive several hours of therapy each day for two weeks. Appointments may vary depending on the needs of the family and child.
Our occupational therapists work with the entire family to develop an ongoing care plan. We encourage younger siblings and family to participate in therapy sessions. We also ask that caregivers and family members to stay for at least thirty minutes to see their child's progress.
We provide a program of at-home activities so your child can practice new skills outside of their appointments.
CIT is most effective when performed in a home-like setting. Families that don’t live in or near Charlottesville are asked to find a hotel or other lodging in the area.
Why Come to UVA for CIT?
Our occupational therapists specialize in pediatric rehabilitation and have extensive training in CIT from the experts that developed the program at the University of Alabama.