Benefits of Early Infant Fitting with a Voluntary Closing Device

ANTHONY BALLARD, MD, MARIE A. DICOWDEN, PHD**,HELGA M. ROBINETTE, OTR/RPT, AND OSCAR ORTIZ, CPMiami, Florida


Infants as young as 6 months of age are being fitted with a voluntary-closing terminal device. The procedure enhances early gross motor development and learning, and attempts to increase a sense of integrated body image at a preverbal and early verbal state of development. Prior to fitting, all infants are tested with the Bayley Developmental Scales to determine level of mental and motor performance. After fitting, a behavioral shaping program is instituted in cooperation with parents. Follow-up testing determines changes in developmental level. Scores indicate increase in motor skills as great as twice the increase in mental skills after the fitting and behavior shaping program. Behavioral analysis also reveals a significant increase in integration of the artificial limb into daily activities. Early fitting of infants with a voluntary-closing device and follow-up with a behavioral program enhances gross motor development and learning, and facilitates integration of the prosthesis into the infant's perception of body image as well as completion of social and daily tasks.

**University of Miami Rehabilitation Psychology Department, 1611 NW 12th Avenue, Miami, FL 33136