|Interview with Italian NBAS trainer, Gherardo Rapisardi, conducted by Jessica Nagel at the 2002 International NBAS Trainers Conference at Children's Hospital, Boston
Gherardo Rapisardi, Neonatologist, Florence, Italy
When did you first learn about the NBAS?
I had followed Dr. Brazelton's work and in 1982, I had found that Professor Milani Comparetti, my teacher in neurodevelopmental assessment of infants, was working with Dr. Brazelton. My Professor was the one who introduced me to Dr. Brazelton. In 1985, I came to Boston and was trained on the NBAS by Dr. Kevin Nugent.
How have you since incorporated it into your discipline?
I found it helpful in assessing newborns and supporting families in promoting neonatal development. I found it useful to incorporate Brazelton concepts in neurodevelopmental assessments of small infants, with Heidelise Als and Milani's and more recently with the Prechtl method for assessing the quality of general movements. Putting them all together gave me the opportunity to assess the neurodevelopment of infants more fully and to participate in the developmental team involved in family centered developmental intervention with high-risk newborns.
Would you please share a vignette or meaningful moment you had while working with the NBAS?
When I worked as a home delivery pediatrician, I worked once with a newborn, Victorio, who was two hours old and I examined the baby on the bed with his mother who had just breast fed. The midwife was there along with the 3-year-old brother, the 5-year-old sister, and the father who was filming the occasion. After I administered the pediatric exam, I began to administer the NBAS. I picked up the baby, swaddled him, and asked the sister to call his name. The baby was alert and looked at her as she called his name. Then I told the sister to move and as she moved, Victorio’s eyes moved with her. The parents were so impressed. I was thinking of the effect this had on the sister because she will someday be a mother so this was a very important moment for her. All the midwives were very excited and I just felt at that moment what a powerful instrument the NBAS is in promoting health.
How do you conceive the role of the instrument in the future?
I think with better standardization it will help more with research so we can incorporate that information into our teaching. Most importantly is to integrate all the Brazelton concepts including the Touchpoints philosophy and to continue to spread these concepts as much as possible. I think the scale has a future in both research and in daily clinical work.