Focus of research
My scientific research in pediatric rehabilitation medicine is translational and clinical, and centers on improving interventions to promote activities and participation in children with a motor disability. A specific focus is on cerebral palsy and related childhood movement disorders. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood, and has a range of causes with the common denominator of stable early brain damage or -malformation, with life-long consequences. Much is still unknown about what the best treatment is for the individual child, and a lot is to be gained by a better understanding of the underlying causes and impairments.
Specific aims are:
- To unravel mechanisms (from brain to muscle level) underlying motor impairments that restrict mobility in children with cerebral palsy and movement disorders, in order to identify new, personalized targets for treatment.
- To develop targeted interventions that enhance functioning (on the level of activities and participation) and avoid secondary effects of the condition during growth.
- To determining short- and long-term effects of interventions, with the aim of determining prognostic factors and gaining insight into the long-term course in children during growth. This requires systematic collection of data in patient care and the development and application of suitable instruments and outcome measures that reflect the key aspects of functioning of the child.
My research group is multidisciplinary, and there is close cooperation with colleagues from other disciplines, such as child neurology, orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery, and with basic (movement) scientists. There are close ties with patient organizations and we work together in designing and executing research projects.
The ultimate goal of this scientific work is to reach individually tailored, personalized, treatment in children with a motor disability, and to achieve the best possible level of functioning as a child and ultimately as an adult.