What is neurodevelopmental therapy? The approach uses no medication or any invasive medical interventions but it is effective in treating many conditions ranging from learning disabilities to stroke recovery. The process involves using primitive reflexes present in automatic responses set off by the nervous system.
Primitive reflexes automatically occur within the body as a result of commands given by the nervous system. Primitive reflexes appear during infancy, and they manifest as automatic responses to external stimuli. When the baby’s neuro development is normal, the following reflexes are apparent:
• Suckling is a natural response that helps the baby to receive nutrition.
• Rooting reflex occurs when a person touches the baby’s cheek. The infant will turn his head toward the cheek that was caressed.
• Grasp response involves gripping an object or a parent’s finger when it is placed in the palm of the hand.
• Tonic neck response is a pose in which the baby has one arm outstretched and the other held is flexed in a way that resembles a fencer when the baby is lying on his or her back.
• Moro reflexive is a startle response that occurs when the baby’s head is allowed to fall back. The baby flings both arms out as if to grab on to the person holding him. The movement is symmetrical.
• Parachute response occurs when the baby is held by the waist and moved quickly towards the floor to create a feeling falling. The baby throws her arms out to protect herself from the perceived fall.
• Babinski reflex is a reflex that occurs when the outer side of the foot is stroked.
These primitive reflexes disappear as the infant reaches developmental milestones. Some children continue to have clusters of these responses, which can delay postural reflexes that should follow as they grow. The presence of unnecessary primitive reflexes in combination of an absence of postural reflexes leads to significant learning and developmental problems.
Neurodevelomental programming uses physical reflex inhibition during physical therapy in order to help the brain and nervous system to gain control over the primitive reflexes. This control is believed to help the release of postural reflexes.
Neuro developmental delay (NDD) is a condition that involves the presence of primitive reflexes after the first year of life. Neuro developmental therapy seeks to inhibit those reflexes while promoting postural reflexes.
The program does not involve any invasive medical interventions nor does it incorporate any medications. Neuro developmental therapy does involve a systematic use of physical exercises that are supposed to help the brain to develop new reflex pathways, offering improvements in perception, vision and voluntary movements.
The Neural-Developmental Treatment Association is dedicated to train professionals, educate families and promote research in the field of neurodevelomental therapy. This resource can help people interested in learning more about the treatment approach.