Background: The predictors and patterns of upright mobility in children with a spinal cord injury (SCI) are poorly understood. Objective: The objective of this study was to develop a classification system that measures children’s ability to integrate ambulation into activities of daily living (ADLs) and to examine upright mobility patterns as a function of their score and classification on the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) exam. Methods: This is a cross-sectional, multicenter study that used a convenience sample of subjects who were participating in a larger study on the reliability of the ISNCSCI. A total of 183 patients between 5 and 21 years old were included in this study. Patients were asked if they had participated in upright mobility in the last month and, if so, in what environment and with what type of bracing. Patients were then categorized into 4 groups: primary ambulators (PrimA), unplanned ambulators (UnPA), planned ambulators (PlanA), and nonambulators. Results: Multivariate analyses found that only lower extremity strength predicted being a PrimA, whereas being an UnPA was predicted by both lower extremity strength and lack of preservation of S45 pinprick sensation. PlanA was only associated with upper extremity strength. Conclusions: This study introduced a classification system based on the ability of children with SCI to integrate upright mobility into their ADLs. Similar to adults, lower extremity strength was a strong predictor of independent mobility (PrimA and UnPA). Lack of pinprick predicted unplanned ambulation, but not being a PrimA. Finally, upper extremity strength was a predictor for planned ambulation.

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