WHAT IS A BRAIN INJURY

Brain injury results in the destruction of brain cells, the degree of loss depending on the severity and nature of the trauma. Even though the brain injury may be severe, if life is preserved there must be surviving cells at each brain level. Since the brain consists of billions of cells, the number of surviving cells could be quite large. Recovery of function can occur if these dormant or non-specific areas of the brain are stimulated into action. If reached, these cells may be able to take over the functions of the destroyed neurons.

Normal brain development demonstrates how this can happen. At birth, a normal brain is immature, as evidenced by the low level of function of the human newborn. The process of normal development helps wire-up and organise the brain - the normal motor stages and the accompanying sensory input transforms non specific cells into functioning neurons, and the whole system gradually becomes highly organised.

Neuro-Developmental Therapy applies the principles of normal development to the treatment of brain injured children. It recognises that normal brain growth follows a structured pattern, a step-by-step process by which higher brain areas progressively develop from the levels below. A normal baby usually crawls before it walks, and wherever possible the same should apply to a brain injured child.

NEURO-DEVELOPMENTAL THERAPY PROGRAMS

Neuro-Developmental Therapy Programs (NDTP) is a private practice run by Ian Hunter, a Neuro-Developmental Therapist since 1975. Ian Hunter graduated in Physical Education from Melbourne University, and studied for two years in the USA at the Philadelphia-base Institutes for the Achievement of Human potential. NDTP is based in Melbourne but services patients from all parts of Australia and overseas. The high cost of airfares and the difficulties involved in travelling with a brain injured child make it impractical for families to travel to Melbourne, so Ian Hunter travels frequently around Australia and the world to see patients.

Initially the child is carefully assessed, and an appropriate and specific Home Based therapy program is then devised and taught to the child’s parents. Once the child begins the program he is seen for re-assessment every 3-4 months. Since the therapy needs time to take effect, there is usually no need for more frequent visits. If difficulties arise, communication by email or telephone can usually solve the problem, and videos can be sent.