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HomePatient FacilitiesPhysiotherapyWhat is Neuro-Developmental Therapy? Text Size  
 
What is Neuro-Developmental Therapy?
It’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? But it’s much simpler than the term suggests. Did you know that physical exercises can impact the brain and the functions it controls? And no, Neuro-Developmental Therapy (NDT) is NOT surgery!

NDT is completely non-invasive and does not involve medication either. It is a series of specific exercises that re-trains neurological reflex pathways in the brain and improves control over a child’s voluntary movements, his / her visual sense and perceptual abilities.

Primitive Reflexes
All babies are born with a series of primitive reflexes which help them survive. For instance, the sucking reflex or the palmar reflex, where the baby automatically closes his / her hand when you place your finger on his / her plam.

Primitive reflexes are automatic, rhythmical movements under the control of the brain stem, a ‘lower’ centre of the brain. They do not involve the brain’s cerebral cortex. These reflexes are a precursor to learning voluntary movements and skills, which then inhibit and replace these primitive actions.

All this takes place within the first few months of a baby’s life. In other words, as the brain evolves and matures, primitive reflexes disappear and the brain allows the child to learn to walk, run, read, write and so on.

Who Needs NDT?
If primitive reflexes persist beyond 6 to 12 months, immature patterns of movement and behaviour may not disappear even once the child learns more complex, voluntary behaviour.

NDT is a set of physical exercises designed to stimulate certain neural pathways of the brain to improve control over voluntary movements, the visual sense and perceptual abilities. While doing this, primitive reflexes are inhibited and they gradually disappear.

NDT is a ‘reverse type’ of process: instead of the brain initiating more mature physical movements in the child, physical exercises jog and coax the brain to do what it was originally meant to do!

In the process, the nervous system is gradually encouraged to mature and become more open to learning. NDT does this by incorporating into the exercise regimen movements which are used naturally by a baby and a young child.

A typical NDT programme takes 9 to 12 months and the exercise programme is customised to the patient’s requirements and will evolve as therapy progresses.

This therapy is typically used for children who exhibit developmental problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, hyperactivity, balance problems, among other things.
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