More and more people are talking about brain injuries and disorders, for everything from football concussions to soldiers returning from the battlefield. The attention is awesome, and now novel methods are becoming available that may help patients. One new idea is known as NDT (Neurodevelopmental Therapy). This can be used in occupational, speech, language and physical therapies, including pediatric physical therapy.
Basically, NDT is a way to look at impairments on a targeted, individual level. Therapists for kids with disabilities use hands-on methods and high-tech tools to train patients on activities. For example, consider the case of a girl who can't manipulate a fork might decide she wants to learn. The physical therapist might guide the patient through picking up the hand, locating the fork and seeing how it feels and then lifting it. It's one step at a time, and guided by touch from start to finish.
NDT is patient-driven, because each patient has set goals. For kids with disabilities, families play a role. For adult patients dealing with issues like stroke or TIB, the goal could involve walking, standing and more. Elite physical therapists who ise these strategies say that a patient's ideas about their treatment is very important.
Beyond the intuitive sense that it works, NDT truly works. People treated with it need less help and fewer devices and improve at proper positioning. Goals can be set, and reached, in speech, eating, movement and other occupational therapy tasks.
For kids with disabilities, pediatric physical therapists can use NDT to help them be less dependent. They can learn to support themselves, climb stairs, or even crawl or stand. The best pediatric physical therapists believe that some degree of improvement is realistic for almost all people, even if they have been diagnosed with lifelong conditions.
The body of research on NDT isn't very extensive, but the topic isn't hotly contested, either. Many of the studies have been done on just a few patients, so aren't widely generalizable. But it all makes sense and a growing number of physical therapists for kids with special needs and other specialists are trying it.
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