It’s here folks! IV Step 2016 has begun and I’m on the ground covering the latest and greatest movement science as it is translated into clinical practice. There are approximately 750 neuro and pedi therapists in attendance representing every continent on Earth, except Antarctica. For those of you that couldn’t make it out this time, the Academies are planning to publish the proceedings in an e-book (which is meant to be a textbook for students) coming out in January 2017. Be on the look out for that!
This evening’s session was called Past, Present and Future of the Step Conferences and presented by Susan Harris and Carolee Winstein. (The following is a summary of the session in my own words, but I will be borrowing some of their quotes that were AWESOME.) Basically, we discussed where we’ve been, where we’re at and postulated where we’ll be going in the future.
The past conferences have been entitled NUSTEP, IISTEP, and IIISTEP. NUSTEP occurred 50 years ago and began as a special project from Northwestern University, which is where the name came from: Northwestern University Special Therapeutic Exercise Project. At this conference the “oldie but goodies” presented their techniques, such as Bobath, Brunnstrom, Knott and Voss, Rood. Their purpose was to promote science driven therapy practice. They put out a book of the goings on which became a textbook used in PT schools for the next 20-25 years.
Twenty-four years later (1990), IISTEP occurred at the University of Oklahoma. At IISTEP they built on the foundation of NUSTEP and revisited the foundational methods, looking at them in light of the latest research.
In 2005, IIISTEP happened in Salt Lake City, Utah. This time they wanted to be different. The focus moved away from specific methods and into research. They had met their goal of encouraging research into movement science, so now it was time to dig deep in the newly acquired data and make changes accordingly. They emphasized neuroplasticity, motor learning and motivation while translating movement science to interventions. The 1990s research into neuroplasticity heavily influenced the thoughts that came out of IIISTEP. They published the proceedings in a special issue of PT Journal (which is free to access on PubMed.)
So here we are at IVSTEP. It’s theme is: Prevention, Prediction, Plasticity, and Participation and how all of those things are linked together. Let’s define those themes. Prevention: “actions taken to prevent the onset of disease (or disability) to stop its progress and to minimize its consequences.” Prediction: beginning with movement system diagnosis and measurement, to anticipate the response to an intervention. Plasticity: “the capacity of cerebral neurons and neural circuits to change, structurally and functionally in response to experience.” According to WHO ICF, participation is “involvement of people in all areas of life or the functioning of a person as a member of society.” So that’s what we’ll be looking at in the next few days.
We are entering (or perhaps already in) an era of unprecedented, rapid technological advancement. As such, several are already thinking that 10 years may be too long to wait for the next STEP. In the future, we will converg the psychological and physiological sciences. We will incorporate amazing new rehabilitation tech, such as wearables. We will have streamlined and increased efficiency of research by utilizing big databases such as PhysioNet and Connectome for our control groups. We will utilize more patient self-report outcome measures and truly value them. Finally, we will work toward an international collaboration of therapists to improve quality of life the world over.
That’s it for the opening ceremony, beyond a bunch of food, drinks and chatting with old and new friends. Stay tuned for more IVSTEP!