MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019
Helen "Timmie" Wallace, PT, C/NDT
I have had the privilege of teaching with Timmie on several occasions across the world. She is a seasoned clinician with a wealth of knowledge about NDT and treating children. She was fortunate to do her initial NDT training directly with Mrs. Bobath. When she was a physical therapy student, she heard about the Bobaths in her therapeutic exercise course. She knew she wanted to work with children, so this approach intrigued her. She explored her options and chose a clinical experience at a children’s residential hospital that had a physical therapy supervisor who was Bobath-trained and included NDT in her clinic. As it happened, the Bobaths visited that hospital during the time Timmie was there, and she was totally hooked after watching Mrs. Bobath work with the children.
When asked what made her take the step to become an instructor Timmie replied, “This was by mistake. I had the opportunity to have a second course (once part of the criteria for becoming an NDT instructor), took the course, was asked to assist in other courses, realized I could reach more kids and families if I taught other therapists – and the rest is history! I really appreciated the opportunity to share this wonderful approach with other therapists and learned more and more about teaching as I assisted many amazing instructors.”
Teaching and treating children have been passions for Timmie throughout her career. Over her career she has worked in all aspects of treatment settings. She currently provides home-based services to the birth to three population. Her love of the children and desire for them to achieve more is evident every time you see her treat a child. She has a fun way of relating to children of all ages and getting them on board with therapy through creative, fun activities. She is currently a sole practitioner but has worked in settings with other NDT-trained therapists in the past. When we talked about the advantage of working in those settings, Timmie stated, “In other eras, I have worked with therapists following the same philosophy / basic premises and concepts as NDT / Bobath. This makes communication easier and the total approach, to me, has greater impact on positive results for child and family.”
With her passion for teaching she has had the opportunity to train therapists all over the world regarding the benefits of using the NDT/Bobath treatment model. When looking at what she likes therapists to learn from this approach, she cites the areas of typical development and postural control as two of the most important aspects in helping children develop good movement patterns to improve functional outcomes. She states, “Understanding the refinements of typical movement development and the importance of postural control and postural stability in the role of function are areas all therapists need to know better. Using this base for establishing treatment objectives and strategies is one of the best (for me the best!) ways to observe functional gains in children with chronic conditions, as we are able to see the gains and not get held down by inabilities. Knowing how it all fits together challenges us to always look for the child’s abilities.” As we look at the importance of the role of postural control Timmie has found that “Postural control is more than a role; it is one of the primary bases for functional skill development. Postural control is not just the neuromotor or musculoskeletal systems. It incorporates the sensory systems, the digestive and respiratory systems, communication, and all body systems that we are challenged to address. Postural control puts the onus on alignment, which includes weight bearing, weight shifting, vestibular responses, strength, tone, influences of gravity, motivation, visual and hearing and tactile senses, as well as the understanding and integration of the feedback this provides in order to use this information to perform / perfect (through feed forward) the activity/skill. The NDT approach brings postural control into function by helping to provide a strong base for skill development. I believe this is as Mrs. Bobath originally intended us to understand.”
Whether teaching with Timmie or taking a course from her, her passion for both treating and teaching is evident. She is certified as an instructor in pediatrics and has taken the course on the treatment of adults with neurologic impairments. She has spent her career in pediatrics but found that being certified in the adult side of NDT has taught her that it is important that all of us (instructors) take the opportunity to have the other course so that we can better understand where we have come from and where we are going – that we understand the lifespan. She finds that sharing valuable information with other therapists and helping therapists realize the abilities of the kids as our teachers provides her the most joy in being an instructor. As an instructor she states, “I get to be a catalyst in this interchange between therapist and child. Watching the families become so connected to the therapists as the therapists learn ways to provide the basis for function is also a gift for me.”
Because Timmie has had the opportunity to teach around the world, I asked her what she has found to be the benefits of treating in a variety of cultures. She states, “Sharing the information with more people and learning how NDT fits with various cultures. In some situations, this is the first exposure the therapists have to this approach, and the word spreads very quickly that NDT really can make a difference. Another aspect is that families (parents and caregivers) often have not understood that there are great possibilities that their children can improve in their skills, and the intensity of this course is a real eye-opener for the families and the children.”
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
Debra Kray, PT, C/NDT
The NDTA 2018 conference was a huge success thanks to NDT practitioners like Debra Kray, who has served on the Conference Planning Committee for the past four years. Having practiced for 32 years, Debra currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She works for the state’s Westside Regional Center in the birth-3-year-old early intervention program as both a treating therapist and as a consultant. She recalls being fortunate to work as a student intern at a hospital with Randy Jacobson, PT, who was NDT-trained. At graduation, Debra secured a job at that same hospital and was able to be guided in treatment ideas and continuing education course recommendations by Randy.
In 1987, Debra was able to take the five-day “Components of Movement” course taught by Lois Bly, which gave her an excellent introduction to NDT-oriented movement analysis. She then followed this with several other shorter courses with a variety of instructors, giving her well-rounded exposure to NDT treatment strategies. But she reports that she wanted to further understand strategies and how to determine when to use them. In 1999, Debra was able to take her certification course with Lauren Beeler and Mary Hallway.
Debra defines NDT as a philosophy that she has been able to keep in the forefront, applying its movement analysis and problem solving strategies in all the job settings where she has worked. She found this to be most important when her family had moved to another state where the awareness of NDT was quite limited. Being in this type of work environment forced her to become more self-reliant.
Debra recalls an 18-month-old child she treated there shortly after starting. She focused on improving postural control in standing and during walking because these were both age appropriate and important to the family. Her favorite treatment memory is of a fall afternoon when she and the child walked outside crunching leaves. She utilized home programs and community involvement to help the family understand the child’s functional possibilities and to become comfortable with their “differently-abled child.” When asked what advice Debra had for any therapist inquiring about NDT she stated, “It just makes sense! NDT certification is a journey that does require a strong commitment of time, energy, and finances, but the value of learning will continue long after your training is complete.”