The Neonatal Therapy Service is made up of Developmental Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, based in the Child Development Centre.
A Neonatal Therapist aims to support the development of babies who may be at risk of having movement or developmental difficulties due to:
Most babies develop well in spite of being born early or being ill in their early life. We have a Physiotherapy led developmental follow-up programme to monitor your baby’s progress on the neonatal unit and after they go home, to reassure you when all is going well, to offer suggestions for appropriate developmental play activities, and to make sure your baby gets the earliest possible help if they need it.
Premature babies born earlier than 37 weeks gestation are routinely referred to the Physiotherapist for developmental monitoring and input as required. Other babies at risk of movement or developmental difficulties because they are small or sick, had a bumpy start to life or have a known condition which may affect development are also referred by medical staff.
The Therapist may observe your baby and watch their active movements when they are awake. They may ask you if they can video your baby moving so they can look at their movements in more detail, and keep a record (Prechtl Assessment of General Movements). This assessment of a baby’s spontaneous movement gives a good insight into how they are doing developmentally. The Therapist may also place your baby in different positions (on their back, side and tummy), and move their arms and legs to assess their muscle tone (how stiff or floppy they are) and how well they respond to being handled.
These may include looking more specifically at Babies Gross Motor, Fine motor, Sensory and Social Communication skills.