What is Neuro-Developmental Treatment?

Neuro-Development Treatment (NDT) is a type of therapy used by physical, occupational, and speech-language therapists for individuals with movement and muscle control challenges. These motor control issues are typically referred to as neuro-motor or neuromuscular dysfunction, and can seriously affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, posture and balance. Individuals with neuromuscular dysfunctions have unique needs which is why Neuro Developmental Therapy was developed and is now used by many therapists who specialize in working with these individuals. 

NDT is:
An advanced "hands-on" therapeutic approach that helps guide the individual to more efficient functional abilities. It utilizes principles of motor development, motor control, motor learning, and other supporting scientific principles to improve basic body functions.
Engaging and motivating. Our goal is client motivation through intervention that includes "hands-on" physical guidance strategies, verbal cues, and feedback, gradually adjusting over time according to client’s needs and emerging skills. 
With the client and family at the center, the therapist uses a proven, industry-standard model to assess activity and participation in daily routines. Then, building on the client’s functional strengths, the NDT therapist identifies movement problems and, along with the family and client, sets achievable goals to improve function. 

What types of conditions are commonly treated by NDT therapists?

Common diagnoses that benefit from NDT are cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury and other conditions that affect body movement. 

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. Cerebral Palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain that affects a person's ability to control his or her muscles. The symptoms of CP vary from person to person.

Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. If a stroke occurs and blood flow to the brain is cut off, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost. In the United States more than 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year and often partial paralysis or other problems controlling movement are the result.

Traumatic brain injury, which is caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. This disrupts the normal function of the brain and can result in problems with many motor-development abilities including speech, body movement, posture and balance. 

To find an NDT Trained or NDT Certified therapist in your area, search here. 

What is commonly included in NDT therapy sessions?

NDT therapy sessions typically include:
• Examination, evaluation, and intervention or treatment, grounded in an on-going process of clinical problem-solving to both build on the individual’s strengths and also take into consideration their limitations.  
• Task Analysis: NDT clinicians analyze each person’s capacity to participate fully in life through observation of functional activities and limitations, noting the postures and movements that support and limit these functions.
• "Systems Theory" which is employed to evaluate the underlying reasons why an individual moves the way she or he does. The musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, sensory, respiratory and other systems of the body are examined in detail. Task specific strengths, impairments and related components are identified and specifically addressed to improve function.
• Each treatment session is based on family and client-chosen functional outcomes, and has specific functional goals which are pre and post - tested within each treatment session. These outcome goals guide the NDT therapist’s intervention.
• Two-way communication between therapist and client so as to achieve the goal of improved motor function, optimizing task performance, and acquiring the skills needed to enable the individual to achieve the most manageable and full life possible.

How is NDT Different from other therapy approaches?

Neuro-Developmental Treatment is based on the unique NDTA™ Contemporary Practice Model and unique “hands-on” treatment approach. Advanced NDT skills are used in assessment, evaluation and relevant functional treatment for individuals with significant neuro-motor challenges.

When treating individuals with these disorders, an in-depth knowledge of the human movement system combined with a deep understanding of typical and atypical development is required. These skills are then combined with expertise in analyzing posture control, movement, activity, and participation in daily living to create a set of achievable goals along with the individual and their family/caregivers. Each treatment session is based on functional outcomes, and has specific functional goals which are pre and post - tested within each treatment session, and which guide the NDT therapist’s intervention. The comprehensive, hands-on approach to treatment, is used to assist the individual in appropriate motor synergies utilized in functional skills, and is what sets NDT apart from other therapies. 


What special training do NDT therapists receive?

A therapist certified in Neuro-Developmental Treatment has taken advanced training in these areas (at least 100 hours), both in the principles of NDT, in-depth analysis, and the hands-on application of the therapy with clients. The therapist must then pass an exam, proving competence in the therapy in order to receive NDT certification. Additionally, to continue NDT certification, a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education every 3 years is required.

Why is NDT preferred by its practicing therapists to other treatment approaches?

Neuro-Developmental Treatment is the preferred therapy intervention for thousands of therapists for their clients with neuro-motor disorders because of its effectiveness in helping the individual achieve the most satisfying, functional and active life possible. Certified NDT therapists find what they have learned during their NDT post-university training is essential to better understanding the human movement system and postural control. This in-depth knowledge enables them to most effectively improve client movement and function, leading to improved independence and participation in daily life. The NDT approach is often combined with other therapeutic approaches as appropriate based on the evaluation of each client's unique needs and movement goals.

What is NDTA (the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association)?

NDTA™ is a global not-for-profit professional association based in the United States consisting of therapists, consumers and other professionals dedicated to the use and advancement of NDT. The organization is dedicated to advancing utilization of the NDTA™ Contemporary Practice Model through clinical intervention, education, and research so that clients with neuromuscular dysfunction can participate in life to the fullest potential.

Do I need to be a therapist to be a member?   

Anyone can join and be a part of the NDTA! Membership has its benefits, including discounted tuition on all education, access to the bimonthly NDTA newsletter and much more! Please visit Become a Member and select the appropriate membership category to join. 

How can I get more involved with the organization?

NDTA is a volunteer-driven organization. Volunteers participate on various committees to complete projects to support all aspects of the organization, including membership, education, conference and more. Please visit our Committees page and contact the appropriate Committee Chair to get involved!

How do I find an NDT Trained or NDT Certified therapist in my area?

Click on Search in the top menu. Use the search criteria to focus your search. 

How can I purchase NDT books?

Visit the NDTA Marketplace to look through our current inventory. To purchase the textbook Neuro-Developmental Treatment: A Guide to NDT Clinical Practice, please visit Thieme publishers directly. Note: NDTA Members receive a 25% discount!

I am not a therapist. Can I still attend an NDTA course?

Yes. Many of our seminar and conference educational opportunities are also intended for non-therapist audiences. The NDTA Certificate Courses and Advanced Courses, however, are for licensed OT, PT, and SLP.

What are the applicant requirements to take an NDTA Certificate Course?

1. Professional license in the state of residence.
2. Current malpractice insurance. 
3. At least one year's post graduate experience and current practice treating either children with cerebral palsy or adults with hemiplegia.

I do not see a course in my area. What are my options?

All of the currently scheduled courses are listed online. Courses are always in the process of being planned, however they cannot be posted online until all details are finalized. Please note that courses are run based on the willingness of facilities to host a course and the availability of an instructor to teach the course. Therefore, if you are interested in hosting at your facility, please visit our Host a Course page.

What is an NDTA Facility Partner? 

An NDTA Facility Partner is a group membership, including one primary contact and three additional facility employees for $350 (valued at $500). All members added through the facility must be a therapist practitioner and/or an assistant therapist. Unlimited additional therapists within the facility can be added to this membership program for an additional $95 each (valued at $125 each). The Facility Partner Membership is the first step toward identification and application for the NDTA Center of Excellence program.

What is an NDTA Center of Excellence?

NDTA Centers of Excellence (COE) is a program which will link NDTA membership, education, and research to therapy facilities and their clients. Centers of Excellence (COE) facilities are a locus of NDT expertise and training. To become a COE, please visit the COE page

Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association (NDTA™)

201 N. Union Street, Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314

Email: info@ndta.org

Phone: 608-581-5689   Toll Free: 800-869-9295



NDTA is committed to making our products and services accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. If you need an accommodation or have a request for assistance, please contact us at info@ndta.org

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