Literature Search Strategy

The research team conducted a systematic review of the evidence following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) (Page et al., 2021). A literature search was performed using five scholarly databases, including PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PsychINFO. The search strategy involved two constructs: SCI and pediatrics. The search included full-length journal articles published in English language up to the end of December 2020. Any duplicates were removed.

Study Selection and Data Synthesis

Each article was assessed for relevance by two independent reviewers. The studies were included if 1) ≥50% of the study participants had experienced a traumatic SCI and non-traumatic acquired SCI; 2) participants’ age of onset of SCI was between 0-21 years; and 3) they examined factors of importance for rehabilitation/habilitation post-SCI (i.e., primary and/or secondary complications) descriptively or via an intervention. The review included all research designs, with the exception of general, non-systematic, reviews. Case reports must have reviewed a specific rehabilitation/habilitation management topic in order to be included for review.

Studies were excluded if they 1) included a sample with predominately nontraumatic, congenital SCI (e.g., spina bifida); 2) represented conference proceedings, program reviews/descriptions (without a study sample), continuous learning/education modules, or clinical practice guidelines; 3) focused on the following topics: a) acute care management and spine stability; b) diagnostic and radiological imaging, or c) psychometrical property analyses; and 4) did not report all necessary details for the reviewer to determine if they met the inclusion criteria (e.g., etiology, age, etc.).Relevant information from each included study was extracted by two reviewers and summarized in tabular form. This includes: author(s), year of publication, country of origin, study design, sample size, subject characteristics (e.g., age, gender, injury etiology, level of injury, severity of injury, time since injury), area of impairment targeted by rehabilitation/habilitation, intervention (if applicable), outcome measures, and results.