Purpose: While numerous pediatric therapy decisions are made by parents, minimal research has been conducted on parents’ perspectives regarding their experiences during high intensity interventions of neuro-developmental treatment (NDT). The purposes of this study were to: 1. investigate the perceptions of parents of children with disabilities regarding their child’s participation in an intense pediatric therapy program (NDT); and 2. Examine if differences occur in functional skills of children with motor disability after an intensive NDT program.
Methods: A mixed design of qualitative and quantitative methods was used. Participants included 5 parents/caregivers of children with disabilities and their children (1-17 years of age). To explore parents’ perspectives of the intensive program, a phenomenological approach of inquiry was conducted through direct interviews and observations. Intervention intensity was 2-4 hours per day of direct handling for a 1 or 2 week duration. Functional skills were measured pre- and post-intervention using the Goal Attainment Scale (GAS) and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM).
Results: Child participants demonstrated significantly improved (p<.001) scores on the GAS and COPM pre-to post-intervention with the NDT intensive program. Parents valued the intense format of the NDT program. Seven themes were identified as critical to their children’s therapy programs: 1. Positive effects were seen with increased intensity; 2. Expert, compassionate therapists were valued; 3.Team collaboration was vital; 4. Objective, realistic goals were required; 5. Home programs with teaching were needed; 6. Funding and scheduling were challenging; 7. Children and their families had individualized needs.
Conclusion: A short-term, intensive NDT program consisting of 2-4 hours of intervention daily for 1 or 2 weeks improved functional skills of children with disabilities. Parents highly valued the intensive program and its benefits for their children. Key words: Bobath approach, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS)
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN