GMA2017 – Basic & Advanced Courses

The Association is hosting two 4-day training programmes on Prechtl’s Method on the Quanlitative Assessment of General Movements in Port Elizabeth in 2017: the BASIC Course and the ADVANCED Course.

Course Title:
Prechtl’s Method on the Qualitative Assessment of General Movements (BASIC Course)
Monday 14 August to Thursday 17 August 2017
Course Title:
Prechtl’s Method on the Qualitative Assessment of General Movements (ADVANCED Course)
Monday 21 August to Thursday 24 August 2017
The Beach Hotel, Port Elizabeth South Africa
Dr. Christa Einspieler, Medizinische Universität Graz, co-creator of the GMA assessment method
NOTE: Places are limited, and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis for confirmed (paid) registrations.

Who should attend:

Health care professionals working in the field of infant neurology, neonatologists, pediatric neurologists, general pediatricians, developmental and behavioral pediatricians and physical and occupational therapists.
NOTE: Participants in the Advanced Course must have already successfully completed the Basic Course, and already be engaged in applying Prechtl’s Method on the Qualitative Assessment of General Movements.

Basic Course Objectives:

Upon completion of the BASIC course, participants will:

  • Understand the theoretical basis of Prechtl’s Method of Qualitative Assessment of General Movements;
  • Be able to:
    • Assess typically developing infants using the Qualitative Assessment of General Movements.
    • Assess infants with brain lesions using the Qualitative Assessment of General Movements.
    • Incorporate this technique for clinical and research purposes.
    • Reliably distinguish typical versus atypical general movements.

Upon completion of the ADVANCED course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the optimality concept and detailed assessment of general movements;
  • Assess the components of GMs (speed, amplitude, intensity, rotations etc.) during the preterm and term age and evaluate the individual trajectory;
  • Assess fidgety movements and the concurrent motor repertoire (movements and postures) in 3- to 5-month-old infants;
  • Discuss their own recordings.

About your trainer:

Christa Einspieler, Dr., PhD Professor of Physiology

Christa Einspieler received her degree in Physiology and Psychology at the University of Graz, Austria. She has been working in behavioural analysis for over 20 years and received special training inter alia at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands (Heinz Prechtl). She is currently Professor of Physiology at the Medical University of Graz. Her main research topics are the ontogeny of behaviour, fetal movements, motor development in preterm, term and young infants, age-specific neurological assessments, and neurolinguistics. She is author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers in indexed journals (SCI/SSCI/PUBMED), has contributed to more than 25 books from international publishers, and published two monographs on fetal and early motor behaviour (Clin Dev Med 167, Clin Dev Med 189).

Dr Christa Einspieler

Dr Christa Einspieler

What is the General Movements Assessment (GMA)?
The General Movements Assessment is a non-invasive and cost-effective way to identify neurological issues which may lead to cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. The assessment can be undertaken on children from birth to 20 weeks of age (corrected for prematurity).

“General movements (GMs) are part of the spontaneous movement repertoire and are present from early fetal life onwards until the end of the first half a year of life”
Einspieler & Prechtl, 2005 p.61

General movements develop according to a distinct pattern in three phases in all humans, and their quality is linked to the integrity of the nervous system. Because of this, the quality of these movements can be observed in young infants in order to assess for neurological damage.

  • Phase 1 of the general movements (preterm GMs or fetal GMs) starts at 9-12 weeks gestational age and persist through to term age (approximately 40 weeks).
  • Phase 2 of the general movements, characterised by writhing movements, starts at term age and persists during the first two months of life, until they start to disappear at about 6 – 9 weeks of age.
  • Phase 3 of the general movements, characterised by fidgety movements, starts at about 9 weeks and continues to age about 20 weeks.

Absence of these fidgety movements in infants 9-20 weeks in particular has been identified as a marker for the presence of neural damage and cerebral palsy
Adde et al., 2009 and Einspieler & Prechtl, 2005

Based on observations of these movements, the General Movements Assessment (GMA) was developed, which relies on skilled and trained observation of the fidgety movements in infants, and assessment against the expected normal pattern of the movements.

Although the GMA could be particularly useful in the developing world due to the low cost and low technology requirements, in the South Africa context the implementation is constrained by the lack of trained and skilled human assessors. Due to the complexity of these movements and the sensitivity required to observe changes, health care professionals need to undergo standardised training in order to be able to perform this assessment.

After completing the training, the professional undergoes a certification process – in line with specifications set out by the General Movements Trust.