Infants Born Preterm: Identifying and Addressing Their Special Needs in Early Infancy to Support Development

August 14-16, 2020

Have you ever felt “at a loss” when treating a one-month-old or an infant whose chronological age hasn’t yet reached term? Have you ever assessed an infant born preterm and seen movement issues that weren’t reflected in the norm-referenced tests and checklists? In this course, you will learn how to assess and treat movement dysfunction in infants born preterm beginning at NICU discharge. We will assess movement pattern differences on which to build effective treatment interventions and address the challenges unique to the population of infants born preterm. Assessment skills will be appropriate for clinic follow-up as well as for use in early intervention programs. Intervention handling and facilitation techniques will be introduced for use during functional activities with infants born preterm. You will learn to prioritize and adapt baby treatment techniques to accommodate for the special energy, respiratory, visual, and medical needs of infants born preterm. Interventions and techniques will be appropriate for in-home early intervention and parent coaching.

The instructor will use lecture, video, lab, and problem-solving formats. During the lab components, you will learn to treat by working with other class participants and with dolls. You should bring a beach town (or yoga mat), a 20” Raggedy Ann-type doll, and wear clothing that is comfortable and easy to move in.

Audience:  Designed for PTs, PTAs, OTs, OTAs, SLPs, Pas, EI Specialists, and Physicians working with infants born preterm in the 0-3 population.

Course Objectives

Practitioners will refine treatment skills of infants born preterm through effective facilitation techniques to be used during functional activities. Labs will guide treatment training that can be used in clinics and early intervention.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast developmental movement components in infants born full-term and preterm from birth.
  • Identify insufficient and atypical movement components seen in infancy that will interfere with the development of functional activities and development of coordination as the child reaches school age.
  • Apply knowledge gained about respiratory, visual, auditory, and physical challenges to effectively enhance infant treatment techniques to better meet the needs of infants born preterm and their families.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of assessment tools commonly used for very young infants born preterm.


Texas Children's Hospital
Feigin Center
1102 Bates, 1st floor conference room A
Houston, Texas 77030

Cost -  


Earned credits -  

21 contact hours or CCU’s through TPTA and TOTA

Registration - Register online


Jan McElroy, PT, Ph.D., graduated from the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Missouri, completed a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy and a PhD in Pediatric Science from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She draws from over 40 years of pediatric experience with the 0-3 year old population in a wide range of settings, including NICU, acute care, Early Intervention, outpatient, and inpatient rehabilitation. Jan owns a private pediatric PT practice in Columbia, Missouri. Her teaching experience includes clinical, classroom, and continuing education settings. She served as the primary physical therapy faculty on the Maternal-Child Health, LEND grant at the University of Missouri for 20 years. Currently, Jan serves on the national developmental care panel to publish developmental care guidelines for the NICU. Her continuing education teaching focuses on baby treatment, assessment, and treatment of infants born preterm, serial casting and temporary foot supports, and gait. Jan is co-director of the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Continuing Education series in Neonatology and Infants Studies. She is currently conducting research in lower extremity movement patterns in infants born full-term and preterm, gait, hypotonia, and movement in children with autism.


Day 1

  • 08:00-08:30  Registration/Continental Breakfast
  • 08:30-09:30  Applying Synactive, Neuronal & Dynamic Systems Theory to interventions and outcomes
  • 09:30-10:15  Problem-Solving Home Care Activities based on Synactive Theory
  • 10:15-10:30  BREAK
  • 10:30-11:30  Theories of Neuronal Group Selection & Dynamic Systems
  • 11:30-12:00  Problem-Solving Home Care Activities (continued)
  • 12:00-01:00  LUNCH (on your own)
  • 01:00-03:00  Comparing Developmental Outcomes of infants born term & preterm…are the differences important?
  • 03:00-03:15  BREAK
  • 03:15-05:00  LAB: Handling Skills – Impact of COM/BOS, gravity & biomechanics on infant movement

Day 2

  • 07:30-08:00  Continental Breakfast
  • 08:00-10:30  LAB: Handling Skills – Balance between trunk flex/ext, postural control & the complexity of weight shifts
  • 10:30-10:45  BREAK
  • 10:45-12:00  The Challenge of Breathing for Infants Born Preterm
  • 12:00-01:00  LUNCH (on your own)
  • 01:00-03:00  LAB: Respiration, impact of positioning on movement & development
  • 03:00-03:15  BREAK
  • 03:15-05:00  Effect of vision, auditory, GI & MS systems on movement & development

Day 3

  • 07:30-08:00  Continental Breakfast
  • 08:00-10:30  Putting it all Together: Techniques, Equipment & the Systems
  • 10:30-10:45  BREAK
  • 10:45-12:00  Evidence-based assessment tools – choosing the right tool: AIMS, NSMDA, TIMO, PDMS-2, GM, TIME
  • 12:00-01:00  LUNCH (on your own)
  • 01:00-02:45  Synthesis Activity – case analysis, video analysis &/or discussion
  • 02:45-03:00  BREAK
  • 03:00-04:00  Synthesis Activity (continued)


Wyndham Medical Center
6800 Main
Houston, Texas 77030
Nightly rate: $115.00 (price varies based on room availability)

Ask for Texas Children’s Hospital ESP Rate

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