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Toni Talks about PT Today

My NDT Course Wasn’t What I Expected

Published November 18, 2009 8:02 AM by Toni Patt

Last weekend I finally got the chance to attend an NDT course.   Even though some of the material was basic, it pulled things together for me.  For the first time I feel like I might have a chance at passing the NCS exam in a year or two. Listening to the lectures made me realize how much of what we do goes back to NDT.  I'd heard many of the things in other continuing education courses but called something different.  I don't think she would mind. Berta would have minded.

The class held some surprises for me.  I expected to hear the top down theory of CNS organization and the importance of reflexes.  Imagine how surprised I was when we started talking about the dynamic systems theory and how everything is interrelated.  Instead of treating the CNS, the instructions were to identify what's causing the impairment and treat that.  I was wide awake and prepared to have NDT become my new best friend at work.  That's when I got another surprise.

The lecture ended right there.  Instead of developing that concept, we were told the Dynamic Systems theory was borrowed by NDT. In fact, NDT has borrowed a few theories.  While NDT still uses techniques developed by Berta, her theories have been replaced by something completely different.  We never learned what Berta said about things or how she came to her conclusions.  Instead we were told Berta knew things would change and that didn't cut it with me.

Sure, we learned techniques.  We learned when to use them based on a framework that had little resemblance to what Berta originally taught. I feel cheated. I wanted a theoretical frame work of clinical reasoning that I could use. Telling me to look for misalignment of the body segments isn't the same. I was already doing that although with different treatment techniques.  I didn't learn Berta's NDT.

I learned some of Berta's techniques. I'm not saying they don't work. I've been using some of them for two days and have gotten good results.  I've changed my thinking about how to approach hypotonic legs and gait. I don't think I'll be using the parallel bars as much as I did previously.  That's all good.  The clinical reasoning methodology such as it was is simple and easy to follow.  I just feel disappointed that I didn't really learn NDT.

I took the introductory courses.  More are available.  I would love to learn more techniques.  I don't know if I can sit through another lecture that isn't really a lecture.  The learning occurred during the lab portions.  Maybe I should stop complaining and savior my new knowledge.  NDT had to make changes to remain current with new discoveries.  The treatment approach still works.  I think I'm going to be using it a lot.  I also think I'll be taking parts three and four the next time they come to Houston.


Hi Toni. I believe you were referring to Recovering Function NDT course by Cathy and Peggy. I just recently completed part VI which us the final part of this certification course. I abdolutely love this entire program. My view as a PT and as a clinician who sees patients with CVA on a daily basis had been significantly changed. And I should say for the better.

Jun, PT September 17, 2015 10:27 PM
Lake city FL

I get the same information whether I take a course on line or in a class setting.  I have family to practice on first if I need to after an online course.  

Karen November 19, 2009 10:22 PM

You got useful things from a continuing education course? I can count the number of times that has happened in 20 years on one hand. Embrace it. So it wasn't what you expected! What is? It sounds like you are going to be a better practitioner because of it. What more could you ask of yourself and what more could your patients ask of you? Congratulations.

Dean Metz November 18, 2009 3:30 PM

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