Prechtl's method on the qualitative assessment of general movements
Basic and Advanced courses
The Association will not be hosting training programmes on the Prechtl's Method on the Qualitative Assessment of General Movements in South Africa in 2020. We are planning on having both the Basic and Advanced courses in 2021 again.
What is the General Movement 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.
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