Physical Therapy and NDT: NDT Series Part 2

February 6, 2018

Physical Therapy and NDT

Our first NDT interview is with Denise Powers, one of Pediatric Therapy’s physical therapists, on how her new training influences her treatment.

**This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Denise with a patient.

Miss our first post on what NDT is? Click here to read it!

Q: Why did you decide to do the NDT Course?

It’s something I’ve always been interested in and have been taking courses in. I would say that my schooling was NDT foundational but going through the certification really hammered it in. But I wanted to know the whole picture, especially since I was working around PT’s who were using it because it seemed like they were getting results faster and with greater ease.

Q: Can you describe what NDT looks like when you use it during PT?

I’d say the best way to describe NDT is like a dance. Basically what we’re doing is helping to facilitate the patient’s movements by using our hands to support and guide them as they move. So if you’ve ever had a great dance partner it’s the most like that. Instead of forcing you one way or another, they’re gently introducing movements that make you react to them and even intuit what the next step or direction will be instead of just jerking you around. It’s not passive on either the patient or the therapist’s end, but I’ve found neither of us is working hard to form a movement. Instead, I’m gently moving their body, introducing the idea and providing support while the patient is responding and finding it on their own through practice.

Q: Has it changed how you interact with patients?

It hasn’t changed my overall interaction, but it does give me another tool in my toolbox that helps me treat my patients in a different and effective way. What training did was affect my manual techniques—instead of just using standard strengthening exercises or equipment I’m creating this flow between me and the child by just using my hands. As a PT I’m constantly looking at the motor system, how we use it daily and in participation. I’m constantly trying to make it so patients can do everyday tasks with the greatest possible ease, and a lot of that also helps normalize their day-to-day activities. NDT gave me a way to make all these things happen faster and easier.

Q: When you talk about participation and movement, what do you mean? Do you let your kids pick movements or activities they’d like to get better at?

By participation, I mean that the patient is able to do things that allow them to be included. Instead of sitting on the sideline of a soccer game, they can kick the ball. Or instead of sitting in a wheelchair at the dinner table they can make the transition from their wheelchair to a dining chair. With older kids, they sometimes make requests for things they’d like to be able to do, but with younger kids, I’m trying to get basic movements to be comfortable.

Q: Which patients do you use your new skills with the most?

It’s designed for neurologically involved patients but it can be carried over to other patients. NDT is most successful with neurologically involved kids, for example, kids with CP, stroke patients, or any other kiddos who have brain damage and are trying to overcome things physically. I’d say it can carry over to any child with a movement disorder.

Q: Parting thoughts?

Early intervention and intensive care are so, so important. Starting treatment when patients are younger means neuroplasticity is greater. As we grow, we lay down primary pathways of movement, but these can be negative. You can override the primary pathway but in order to do that the therapy has to be intensive enough to reach the threshold. So the older you are, the more pathways are laid down and the higher the threshold. So while NDT helps patient’s make great strides, the older you are the more time and work has to be put in.

Do you think your child would benefit from NDT therapy? Call Pediatric Therapy Center today at 713.772.1400 for more information.

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