Questions from a Neonatal Therapist – Please offer your thoughts

We received these questions from a neonatal therapist, who is looking for your thoughts and advice:

I am looking for a more detailed assessment that I can use with our 35-36 week preterms which I screen for development and feeding. I am happy with my assessment of neonatal reflexes, posture, tone and feeding, but feel that my sensory assessment is too general, especially in regard to visual function.

My second question is in regard to the Prechtl training. Could you give us your opinion on whether this is worth the investment and also if there are components of the assessment that would be accessible to those who cannot afford this training but would like to be able to identify at risk infants?

Lastly, as all NICU therapist’s know, there are often restrictions in this setting for the amount of time a neonate is alert and active without heading toward the point of no return, so if you have opinions on what parts of the developmental screening that are most pertinent to look at or vice versa, what parts are not as pertinent, ie, parts that can be sacrificed when time is of the essence, please advise. In these cases, I usually look at tone and feeding and postpone the reflex and sensory portion of the evaluation.

What are your thoughts?


Randi  MS, OTR/L

Please share your thoughts with our community of neonatal therapists
Thank you