Neuro-Developmental Therapy

What is Bobath (NDT)?

Neuro-developmental therapy (NDT) is therapeutic approach to the assessment and management dysfunction in people with neurological impairments. The ultimate goal of treatment and management is to maximise the persons functional ability. The concept was first developed by DR and Mrs Bobath on the 1940's and has been used by therapists worldwide. Although the basic concept has not changed, the concept has evolved as current theories have been developed.

The name combines:
"Neuro" - meaning brain and nerves.

"Developmental" - emphasising the importance of understanding the normal movement patterns necessary for the achievement of functional motor skills.

How does NDT Work?

The therapist analyses the motor, sensory and cognitive impairments that impact on the achievement of functional skill development.

There is an emphasis on therapeutic handling which focuses on making desired movements more possible and while preventing undesired movements. Undesired movements are prevented because they can produce secondary problems which in the long term reduce the functional potential.

Treatment incorporates sensory input to produce a desires motor response.

Family members and other caregivers receive education in NDT principles to maximise quality of movements and carryover of functional skills into a range of environments including home, pre-school, school and community.

NDT aims to promote active, efficient, automatic movements during functional activity.

NDT is

based on a thorough understanding of normal movements and its variations. It is:

  • a problem solving strategy and clinical reasoning process;
  • a therapeutic handling strategy responsive to changing needs of the individual;
  • a base to combine with other treatment modalities;
  • a holistic approach addressing all aspects of an individual's living skills;
  • a comprehensive approach and considers the individual as a whole (emotionally, cognitively and physically);
  • a living concept evolving with current scientific knowledge and theories;