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Pediatric-Onset Rehabilitation

Introduction

Although relatively rare, pediatric-onset spinal cord injury (SCI) has a pervasive and long-lasting impact on various aspects of an individual’s life. Management of pediatric SCI calls for a physiologically-centered and developmentally-based approach; depending on their developmental stages and specific skills, those with childhood-onset SCI may require habilitation (i.e. learning a skill for the first time) or rehabilitation (i.e. re-development of a skill that was learned prior to the onset of SCI) (Hayton & Dimitriou, 2019; Miller et al., 2011). For children and adolescents with SCI, the inherent growth and development taking place during childhood and adolescence come with SCI-related complications and manifestations that are distinct from those experienced by the adult SCI population. Therefore, evidence-based research focusing specifically on children and adolescents with SCI is needed to guide clinical practice in the pediatric SCI rehabilitation setting. This chapter aims to examine current scientific literature on factors of importance for rehabilitation/habilitation for individuals with pediatric-onset SCI. Gaps within the body of work on pediatric SCI rehabilitation/habilitation will also be discussed.

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