The Bobath approach is a technique used by physical and occupational therapists world-wide for treating adults patients who have suffered from stroke, or children with cerebral palsy. In the United States it’s often referred to as neuro-developmental therapy (NDT).
Patients with neurological impairments often times have difficulty moving normally and face issues with their postural reflex mechanisms. When the patients are treated using the Bobath approach, they typically start by making small changes in movement and postural control. The changes in movement are performed by the patient with the help of the therapist—both parties are active in the treatment.
The occupational or physical therapist might work on coordination, correct posture, body alignment, muscle strength, and movement initiation. The small changes in movement will increase in difficulty depending on the patient’s progress. The therapist will also help the patient prevent undesired movements that would hinder long-term functional potential.
In the Bobath approach it is common for the therapist to use orthotics and other techniques to develop movement patterns that work best for the individual patient. The approach is flexible and ever-evolving. Therapists will work on a holistic approach to help their patients move and communicate effectively in a safe way that meets the needs of the patient.