The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a Neuro-Developmental Treatment protocol designed to improve motor control in infants born prematurely and at high risk for developmental disability. In a randomized, controlled clinical trial, a treatment group (n = 9) received the Neuro-Developmental Treatment-based intervention protocol, whereas the preterm control group (n = 10) received an identical amount of nonspecific handling. A group of infants born at term (n = 8) also received no intervention. Outcome was assessed by testers blind to preterm group assignment using the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale and a Supplemental Motor Test designed to assess quality of postural control. The term control group performed significantly better than either of the preterm groups on the motor performance cluster of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, and the preterm control group performed better than other groups on the autonomie regulation cluster. On the Supplemental Motor Test assessment of postural control, the preterm treatment group outperformed both control groups on spontaneous behavior items and the preterm control group on elicited activity items. Preterm groups did not differ in average weight gain. A Neuro-Developmental Treatment-based intervention was efficacious in improving postural control in infants born prematurely but did not significantly improve tone, behavioral state, reflexes, or autonomie regulation.
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