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The Bobath/NDT Concept

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The Bobath/NDT concept is a framework on which Bobath trained therapists can clinically reason and problem solve using Bobath assessment tools (in conjunction with current evidence based assessment and outcome measures). Observational and handling analysis of functional movement skills provide the basis for the development of a plan for treatment, for children with cerebral palsy.

Analysis from observation and handling enables therapists to understand why the child/adult finds movements challenging when attempting activities in any given environment e.g. home, school. Sensori-motor function, tone and patterns of movement are assessed during functional activities or play.

The concept paints a broad picture of how the clinical features of a child evolve over time which enables the therapy team to be proactive in managing secondary deformities and contractures

The current framework captures evidence based research principles and is in constant evolution. The International Classification of Function (ICF) directs therapists to provide an individualized programme which specifically addresses the child’s main problems. Motor control and motor learning theory underpin the training to improve motor function.
The concept is used by Bobath trained physiotherapists, occupational and speech language therapists, leading to an interdisciplinary goal setting and treatment approach with the family.


Prepared by Anne Recordon and NZBA Executive 2010


How does Bobath therapy work?

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Bobath trained therapists treat children and adults with cerebral palsy and other central nervous system conditions which affect movement control.

A problem solving approach is used to provide an individual assessment and treatment plan.

One on one treatment involves various techniques to enable the child or adult to practice motor skills or prepare for future skills. The therapy focus is to improve co-ordination of movement and posture. Through specific handling skills or modification of the environmental, more normal patterns of movement are practiced within play, providing more normal sensori-motor experience.

Functional goals will be identified by the family and child. Therapists will develop and implement strategies that can be embedded into every day activities.  Principles of  “what works” in treatment will be used to develop a programme that can be practiced at home.

The programme intensity, frequency and duration can be tailored to the families needs and financial constraints.