Yannick Bleyenheuft, research scientist in motor sciences at UCLouvain and executive member of Louvain Bionics, developed in 2011, with her research group, an intensive and recreational rehabilitation method called HABIT-ILE (Hand and Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy Including Lower Extremities) based on the HABIT method developed at Columbia University (New York) and extended to the lower limbs. HABIT-ILE is based on several principles: the functional objectives are anchored in the child's daily life, the increase in difficulty is gradual and the therapists accompany the child without guiding his movements ("hands off").
Following 2 studies that showed the superiority of HABIT-ILE over conventional rehabilitation in children over 6 years of age with unilateral or bilateral cerebral palsy, Yannick Bleyenheuft and partners recently launched the CAP project ("Changes induced by HABIT-ILE therapy in children with cerebral palsy in preschool age"). This European mulitcentric study aims to evaluate the HABIT-ILE method in children aged 1 to 4. "We hope that earlier intervention will improve motor skills even more, as cerebral plasticity is a priori more important for younger people "says Yannick Bleyenheuft.
A total of 100 children will participate in this randomized controlled study (50 with unilateral paralysis and 50 others with a bilateral) between 2019 and 2021. They will be followed in Belgium, France (Brest and Angers) and in Italy (Pisa). The project has already started in Belgium where 34 children will follow the HABIT-ILE program.
This project is funded by Fondation Paralysie Cérébrale and supported by Louvain Bionics.
More information about the CAP study (in French) here