After NDT: How Intensives Impacted Our Patients
PTC’s NDT camp is over, so we’ve decided to check in with a few of our patients who participated in it. Our first blog is about Shiloh Molock. Her mom, Natalie, was kind enough to let us interview her about Shiloh and how the intensives have helped her.
If you haven’t read about NDT and how intensives can change lives, check out our five part series!
Q: Can you tell me a little about Shiloh and her diagnosis?
She has microcephaly, which is a neurological condition that occurs when a baby is born with a smaller head than children of the same age. The grooves and folds of Shiloh’s brain aren’t fully formed, so making connections and learning new things is difficult for her.
Q: What made you feel interested in the intensives?
We know that forming neurological connections is harder for her, so we knew Neuro-developmental Treatment or NDT would be especially helpful because it would be creating more and stronger pathways while breaking down old ones.
Q: Did you have goals going into the intensives? And what sort of changes did you see?
Shiloh is two years old, and she’s delayed compared to the other children her age. So we went in with specific goals for each therapy.
For PT, the goals were to stand unassisted and cruise.
The OT goals were for her to put her arms through her shirt, hold and lift a bottle and/or cup to her mouth, and be able to use finger isolation to achieve object identification.
In Speech, we wanted her to be able to hold finger foods and take bites (because before the intensives she would shove and break the food up in her mouth) and using her fork. She is doing both of those things now!
So those were our goals, and she met all of them and more.
Q: All of them?
We knew that the intensives using NDT techniques daily would be awesome/beneficial, but whenever it was happening…we were blown away. By the end of first week Shiloh was standing independently. She stood at the house by herself for five minutes. Before I couldn’t put her down without her being able to lean against something. She took two whole independent steps and she can hold on to one of my hands and walk as well. Last night she ate all of her meal with her fork and she can eat from a bowl with her spoon. And now she can point at things and shake her head yes or no. I was able to have a clear conversation with my daughter for the first time. Plus she’s retaining everything—the connections are there and she’s doing it. It’s been so exciting.
Q: How is it different from regular therapy?
It was different because it was every day for three weeks. It was also a special focus on specific tasks. In normal therapy sessions, there’s a lot the therapists are trying to cover in an hour. But with intensives we have specific goals, so we could spend an hour working on standing so the connection is made more quickly and it’s easy to build on it.
When you have a child who is delayed developmentally you see everything they’re not doing. I have two older kids who, when they were two, were having full conversations with me. Because of that, I know what she’s not doing and it can be a little overwhelming sometimes. But when we take everything away and focus on one thing that’s important, it helps give us a singleness of mind that’s positive. Because we were seeing immediate results in some things, it makes me wonder if we can do it all the time. But also I know it’s best for her regular therapy to hit everything because we don’t want to limit her in everyday life, but then we can use the three weeks a year to hone in on specifics. It’s all necessary.
Q: How has the NDT changed Shiloh and your lives day-to-day?
It has made her happier. Before when I would stand her up on her own, even if she had something to lean on or hold on to she wasn’t confident and would cry the whole time. Yesterday while I was getting dressed she was able to stand by herself and then walk over to me. NDT has made me believe more in exciting and endless possibilities. When you start to see progress so fast then you think, “What more can she do?” It makes me believe she can do so much more.