Motor Imagery Practice in Individuals with Cerebral Palsy

Avia Guttman
Orot Israel College of Education


Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common cause of childhood disability and deficiencies  that can be attributed to non-progressive brain damage in the developing neuro-motor system. There are various  physiotherapy intervention programs for individuals with CP. However, there is evidence that the disability can't be attributed only to motor impairments also to cognitive processing problems and to the anticipatory planning of the movement. One of the tools that can help the motor planning is motor imagery practice. Motor Imagery is an active cognitive process represents an internal modeling of the working memory of the movement and it is very often impaired in individuals with CP.

Aim: To review the literature about motor difficulties in population with cerebral palsy and to examine the efficiency of motor imagery practice in this population.

Methods: Selected articles were searched in PubMed, Medline and Google Scholar search by keywords: motor imagery, mental practice and CP. The second stage, targeted cross-search in those databases of keywords, motor imagery+ cerebral palsy, mental practice+ cerebral palsy, yield dozens articles, most of them were included in this review.

Results: The review emphasizes that no disability can be attribute to motor impairments only.  Cognitive processing that anticipate the motor activity, such as motor imagery difficulties of movements, and impaired body scheme mainly affected the implicit imagery.

Discussion and Conclusions: Motor imagery practice is considered an internal representation of motor activity, and can be used as a therapeutic practice for improving movement skills in individuals with CP.

Key words: cerebral palsy, motor imagery practice, anticipatory planning, implicit imagery, explicit imagery.


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