Neonatal OT Looking For Advice – Happy International Neonatal Therapy Week

Neonatal therapist week - Education Resources

Initiated 4 years ago by NANT, this week honors the world’s occupational therapists (OTs), physical therapists (PTs) and speech language pathologists (SLPs) who have chosen to focus their efforts and talents on supporting infants and families in the NICU.

To kick off this week we will be posting daily clinical challenges, questions and thoughts from our community of Neonatal Therapists.
We would welcome all comments, advice and suggestions, or please do post your own clinical challenges – we would love to share them!

Today’s Challenge Question (a reposting):

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 leave your reply below.

The National Association of Neonatal Therapists (NANT) and Education Resources, Inc. are proud  partners, strengthening the quality and accessibility of continuing education for neonatal therapists.

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2 Responses to Neonatal OT Looking For Advice – Happy International Neonatal Therapy Week

  1. Maureen says:

    The TIMPSI *Test of Infant Motor Performance Screning) is a quick standardized tool to assess development fro 34 weeks ga through 4 months corrected age, and correlates with the full TIMP (Test of Infant Motor Performance ) which can provide age equivalents, z scores or percentage of delay depending on you state EI requirements for referral. Check it out at

  2. Angiel says:

    My nicu interdisciplinary team is revisiting our policy on when to wean to open crib from isolette. Current policy is 1800 gm, orally feeding well, growing well, & able to maintain temp. Many staff are now requesting we change policy to allow for smaller size allowance of 1600 grams to be allowed to wean to open crib & that they shouldn’t have to wait til they are orally feeding to go to open crib as long as they are growing well & maintaining temp. I’m trying to remind them about neurodevelopmental protection & how energy depletive oral feeding Can be, how visual & sensory systems are benefitting from isolette time while preterm & less than 1800gms. What is best developmental practice when it comes to weaning from the isolette to open crib?

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