Let me introduce myself
My name is Pam Versfeld and I am a physical therapist from Cape Town, South Africa. When I qualified nearly 50 years ago, our tools were massage, electrotherapy and exercises. At that time PNF and Bobath were starting to make their mark on practice, followed by Maitland mobilization techniques. These were exciting times, and I was privileged to attend an 8 weeks Bobath course at the Bobath Center in London in 1972.
Here in South Africa Bobath as an approach to intervention for CP and stroke quickly became mainstream and I incorporated the principles into my practice with enthusiasm. But at the same time I was reading all the new neuroscience of movement, and became fascinated by dynamic systems theories and the work of Esther Thelen, describing the emergent nature of infant motor behavior. The new neuroscience of motor control was replacing the earlier reflex theories which formed the basis of Bobath and PNF at that time. By the early 80s I had started to base my intervention on task oriented training and motor learning principles.
Today the evidence for the efficacy of task and context oriented intervention for infants and toddlers with developmental delay and CP is strong, and the flowering of research into infant motor development, particularly from a perception-action perspective provides many new insights into how infants learn, or fail to learn new motor skills.
The content of the TOMT 0-3 website is based on these new ideas, along with my many years of experience of translating theory into practice.
The privilege of grandchildren and learning from close observation
More recently I have had the wonderful opportunity to observe and videotape the development of my three grandchildren. Will's development was typical: he was an active little fellow and worked hard at achieving new goals. Roan and Max were born late preterm, developed along their own pathways and provided wonderful insights into the factors that influences the achievement of the gross motor milestones.
Reviewing the many hours of video footage of the development of these three infants has been steep learning curve. I thought I knew a lot about motor development. I certainly had a basic understanding of the different stages, but had little insight into the complex and integrated control of movement that infants start to display from birth.
I have had the opportunity to watch and re-watch these clips. Playing them slow motion and frame-by-frame reveals a great deal about the timing of movement, subtle shifts in weight to prepare for the next movement and how infants use surfaces and momentum to support their actions.The TOMT 0-3 Video Library allows me to share these insights with my colleagues
To contact me: