Nuero Developmental Delay

Neuro-Physiological Therapy can help with...

  • special educational needs (SEN)
  • general learning difficulties (GLD)
  • specific learning difficulties; dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia
  • speech and language difficulties
  • autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Help Understanding Different Difficulties & Disorders

Trying to undertsand and relate to the difficulties your child is experiencing can be very worrying and stressful.

Click on the headings below to expand/contract content and better understand what all the terms and acronyms mean.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

2001 Code of Practice says that ‘Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special provision to be made for them’. In England and Wales this provision can be at three levels.

  1. School Action – when the school is aware but feels that it can support without outside help and support.

  2. School Action Plus – when the school usually seeks outside help and support and an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written. This is usually discussed with the child, parents and other professionals. It is reviewed two or three times a year.

  3. Statement of Special Educational Need – when the LEA collects evidence from the parents and various professionals to give the child a detailed statement of needs and educational requirements.

Children may be placed upon the Special Educational Needs Register for a variety of reasons. Below are the most common ones. Your child may be underperforming or have physical, social or emotional problems but may not necessarily be on the Special Educational Needs Register.

Neuro Physiological Therapy can help with a wide variety of difficulties and problems. The key is to see if Neuro Developmental Delay is a contributory factor. However it is not the answer to every child’s problems, nor is it the answer to every problem a child may have but for many it can make a real difference.

My description of the different special educational needs, described below, is based upon my experience and research as a teacher, head teacher and Neuro Physiological Therapist.

Physical and Sensory Conditions
  • Cerebral Palsy – damage to or failure of development in the part of the brain that controls movement.  1 in 400 births (Scope)

  • Spina Bifida – defect in spinal chord or spine leaving a gap in the small bones in the spine.  80% of Spina Bifida have Hydrocephalus

  • Hydrocephalus – ‘Fluid’ on brain...given shunt or drain.  May cause brain damage and can result in co-ordination and movement problems

  • Genetic Syndromes – many but Downs the most common

  • Accident/Illness- cause brain/spinal/CNS damage (meningitis/measles)

  • Medical Conditions- epilepsy, depression, diabetes, asthma etc.

  • Sensory- visual/hearing impairment etc.

  • Neuro Motor Therapy can not repair brain or nerve damage. However, providing the child can comfortably do the exercises and there is medical agreement that the exercises will do no harm, it can sometimes bring benefit, providing the child is assessed as having NDD.  Masters and Diploma studies at College of Special Education Academy in Warsaw have also claimed that Musica Medica can benefit children with ‘slight mental handicap’, stutter, ‘hearing impairment’, dyslalia, and ‘cerebral palsy’.

General Learning Difficulty (GLD)

Children lack behind peers evenly and consistently in all/most aspects of learning and development and generally just seem 'not very bright' for no good reason.

From my research, it would seem that about 75% of children who are underachieving at Junior School have indications of Neuro Motor Delay. My research would also indicate that most would improve after a 12 month course of Neuro Motor Therapy, with 75% making a year or mores progress.

One head teacher commented, "As with so many aspects of research like this, some of the impact is around the soft data, such as increased confidence and feeling that they can join in more easily just because of the improved way they hold themselves"


A dyslexic child is one who has specific difficulties with basic reading spelling and writing but in most other aspects seems perfectly able. About 10% of population have some form of dyslexia. About  40% of dyslexic children have Irlene Syndrome (Scotopic Sensitivity) where they have difficulty actually seeing the individual letters/words on the page (visual processing).  Asymmetrical Tonic Neck reflex is common among the dyslexic population.

In 1996 research at the University of Sheffield concluded that Dyslexic children having difficulties with

    ‘phonological’ skills (being able to break words down and ‘listen’ with their eyes);

    processing written information quickly;

    motor skills

responded well to Neuro Physiological Therapy. My own experience confirms that therapy opens a door making specialist dyslexia teaching strategies and support more effective. Prof. Dr. Y Shiftan claims that Musica Medica benefit Dyslexic children by calming anxiety, improving concentration and stimulating those parts of the brain to do with sound discrimination.

Dyspraxia (Developmental Co-ordination Delay, Perceptuo-Motor Dysfunction)

Clumsy Child Syndrome’ in which weakness in nerves and muscles impairs the ability to process information and control movement. The child can be as clever as other children but may have difficulty with organising, planning, sequencing, maths and handwriting. About 10% of children have dyspraxia.

Neuro Physiological Therapy can be effective in developing, muscle tone, movement control, coordination and the processing of information if Neuro Physiological Delay is present.


Some difficulty with understanding of number when all other cognitive abilities and achievements are normal or above. A child is often diagnosed as having dyscalculia if they are developmentally one year or more behind in maths, but performing normally in reading and writing. A number of researchers have proposed that children with dyscalculia tend to have the following in common:

  • poor auditory and visual discrimination

  • poor motor coordination

  • vestibular dysfunction (Risey and Briner 1990)

All three of these can be symptomatic of Neuro Physiological Delay, and where Neuro Physiological Delay is significant, therapy can be very effective in bringing about improvement. Prof Dr Shiftan says using Musica Medica can impact upon speech, memory improvement and abstract and spatial thinking, which help with maths understanding. At the Academy of Special Education in Warsaw there have been two studies on the benefit of Musica Medica upon children learning maths.

Speech and Language Difficulties
  • Speech – physical dysfunction such as cleft palate;

  • Oral dyspraxia – nothing physically wrong with mouth but brain can not properly co-ordinate muscles etc to correctly produce sounds;

  • Speech -  due to hearing loss...certain sounds not be heard properly so can not imitate sound (link with phonological awareness and dyslexia);

  • Receptive/Comprehension difficulties – not understand the semantics (grammar, structure, vocabulary and word meaning etc) of literal language;

  • Semantic disorders – failure to comprehend the nuances of non literal language (idioms, figurative and metaphorical etc);

  • Pragmatic disorder – failure to use appropriately and comprehend language in different social contexts.

  • Semantic Pragmatic Disorder – Semantic and Pragmatic together. 

The last three are often associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United Kingdom although some researchers (Szatmari 1998) say that children with these disorders have delayed milestones similar to those found in Neuro Physiological Developmental Delay.

Because of the areas of the brain that are stimulated by music, which is in turn enhanced by ‘feeling musical vibrations’ Musica Medica can be beneficial to children with speech and language difficulties. It also works at an emotional level. When a child has Neuro Physiological Delay, Neuro Physiological therapy can help to remove some of the barriers to learning that children with speech and language may have.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This seems to be at present a blanket description for children who find social aspects difficult. They tend to like routine and predictability and are generally rigid and inflexible.  Being a development disorder it may manifest itself in many different ways from individual to individual, and for the individual will change over time.  Generally it may be thought of as a ‘triad of impairment’, namely in

  • Social interaction

  • Inflexible thinking and behaviour

  • Social Communication

Other terms sometimes used and intermixed are

  • Autism

  • Pervasive Development Disorder

  • Social and Communication Disorder

  • Autistic Tendencies

  • Autistic Traits

  • Asperger’s  Syndrome (roughly defined as ASD with less emphasis on communication)

Neuro Physiological Delay is not a contributory factor in Autism, but where it is present, therapy can be of benefit. Some researchers feel that the lack of emotional comprehension and empathy in autistic children is due in part to dysfunctional ‘mirror cells’ in the brain. Fixation is believed to be caused by a one sided hemispherical focus in the brain without any correction or influence from the other side. Musica Medica is thought to activate ‘mirror-image’ cells and to stimulate both hemispheres in a multi sensory way. There have been at least seven studies at Warsaw’s College of Special Education upon the efficacy of using this therapy with Autistic Children.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Difficulty paying attention, controlling behaviour and activity....hypersensitive/hyposensitive to certain stimuli. ADD may mean hyper or hypo.

Getting a diagnosis of ADHD is can be difficult because the behavioural symptoms can switch on and off. In addition there are three types:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type (PIT)

  • Hyperactive Impulsive Type (HIT)

  • Combined Type (CT)

Between 1-6% of children worldwide are thought to have ADHD with boys 4 times more likely than girls.

Neuro Physiological Delay can be an underlying factor with some ADHD children and the therapy can be effective in improving their condition, as can Music Medica which ‘influences:

  • improved loco motor coordination

  • lower motor hyperactivity

  • improved concentration

  • emotional state

Six studies at the Special Education Academy in Warsaw support the benefit of Musica Medica for children with ‘psychomotor hyperactivity’.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Detached from social relations with a restricted range of expressions. Have less severe problems with interpersonal relationships than ASD and is considered a disorder of late childhood or early adulthood rather than appearing in pre or early school years. I would not treat individuals with mental or psychological condition.

I am willing though to discuss options and suggest where help may be sought.

Dyslexia Treatment

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