Neurodevelopmental Treatment

Neurodevelopment Treatment (NDT) is a treatment approach which was developed to treat underlying neuromotor deficits as well as posture and movement disorders. Techniques include inhibition of atypical movement patterns and facilitation of more typical movement patterns to encourage increased functional skill development. Neurodevelopmental treatment facilitates movement through space with assistance of a therapist using handling techniques, which gently lead and guide as well as inhibit with gentle touch.

Emphasis of treatment is to promote function with improved alignment and tonal normalization along with weight shifting and postural activation in both movement through space as well as in postural holding activities. Neurodevelopmental intervention constantly assesses the child, analyzing the response and changing the handling to modify the response from the child. As the therapist receives and interprets information about the child, the therapist then transmits sensory motor input back through the use of hands and movement, which becomes a graceful fluid interchange between the child and therapist, leading to more independent, functional movement.

Neurodevelopmental intervention uses several ways to modify sensorimotor input to obtain predictable outcomes in the child’s repertoire of motor responses. Dependent on the child, the therapist will grade her pressure, speed and hand placement during treatment sessions, with the emotional responses of the child as novel movement patterns and body positions are sometimes frightening to the child initially. As the child is able to take on more independent functional movement, less handling and facilitation are given by the therapist, leading towards independent use of functional skills.

Concept of Treatment:

Novel patterns of movement are developed in treatment by filling in the missing components of a desired movement. This requires analyzing the components of a task as well as the child’s current movement patterns as a task is attempted. Questions are then raised as to what may be preventing the child from success, what part of the movement the child is engaged in is counterproductive, how can this be inhibited what part of the movement is missing and how can this be facilitated. These are all the components that are necessary in the treatment of a child with a neuromotor or movement disorder.

Concept of Carryover:

When the focus of a child’s treatment coincides with the needs of the child, it is more likely that the desired movements outside the treatment are carried over. Carryover is an essential component of neurodevelopmental intervention as dysfunctional movement patterns are habituated and new patterns must repeated outside of therapy before they can be habituated and eventually override the old, becoming the new movement pattern.

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