In-hand manipulation (IHM) in children 6 and 7 years of age: A follow-up study

Marieta Visser, Mariette Nel, Amor Joubert, Sharné Jacobs, Bianca Smith, Martli Muller, Carla du Plessis, Tania van Heerden, Renette van Soest


Background and aim: The lack of context-specific, valid and reliable, measure in the field of paediatrics remains a challenge for South African occupational therapy clinicians. In terms of in-hand manipulation (IHM), no standardised measurement instruments with age-related norms, comprehensive to evaluate all IHM components, is currently available, causing difficulty with regard to accurate assessment and intervention planning. The aim of this study was to investigate six- and seven-year-old children's IHM skills as a follow-up on a previous study on IHM skills of four- and five-year-old children in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Methods: A quantitative descriptive study was conducted by using video footage of each child performing the activities of the adapted observational checklist, whereafter their performance was scored.

Results: One-hundred and fifty-eight children participated in the study. Results indicated that most children in both age groups could perform translation, simple and complex rotation, and shift with stabilisation. However, complex rotation with stabilisation was more difficult for both age groups. Compensatory methods were mostly used in combination by both age groups.

Conclusion: The collective results from both studies could be used as base-line IHM norms for children aged 4–7 years, for clinical decision making to inform practice. The IHM Observation Checklist can provide occupational therapists with an instrument comprehensive of all IHM components, and it is inexpensive, easily reproducible and quick to administer. The checklist is not yet generalisable to the South African population but can serve as an interim measure. Further development of the checklist is recommended.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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