Neurology for the PTA

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PTA 211

       Course Name: Neurology for the PTA

       Credits: 2 (2 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

PTA 162 with minimum grade of C; concurrent enrollment in PTA 207, PTA 210, and PTA 241.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces the neurology that forms the basis of neurological treatment approaches utilized by the PTA. Content focus is on brain and spinal anatomy, neurodevelopmental stages and motor learning. Major neurological rehabilitation treatment approaches introduced.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student is able to:

  1. Integrate knowledge previously learned in science, general education and PTA courses with the content studied in this course.
  2. Relate function/dysfunction of neural tissues to anatomical knowledge.
  3. Distinguish between upper and lower motor neuron lesions from presenting signs and symptoms.
  4. Distinguish between normal and abnormal reflexes including detection of righting and equilibrium tractions.
  5. Describe the neurodevelopmental sequence.
  6. Differentiate between normal and abnormal muscle tone.
  7. Describe components and the principles of the neurological assessment process and the principles of neurological rehabilitation.
  8. Discuss each of the neurological treatment approaches commonly used in rehabilitation.
  9. Recognize various handling techniques as either facilitory or inhibiting.
  10. Describe Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) techniques.
  11. Recognize safety issues regarding neurological treatments, i.e. indications, contraindications, precautions.
  12. Collaborate with classmates and faculty in group activities with cognizance of sensitivity to cultural differences.
  13. Describe ways to assess mental functions including levels of alertness and orientation.
  14. Synthesize the basics of vestibular rehabilitation, balance training, safety considerations and progression of patients.
  15. Throughout the course, utilize established ICF classification models when describing impairments related to the conditions studied in this course.
  16. Display professional behaviors as mandated by the APTA/IPTA.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Nervous system anatomy and related functions
    1. Lobes of the brain
      1. Frontal
      2. Temporal
      3. Parietal
      4. Occipital
    2. Cerebellum
    3. Brainstem
      1. Midbrain
      2. Pons
      3. Medulla
    4. Spinal cord
      1. Ascending tracts
      2. Descending tracts
    5. Spinal levels/dermatone
    6. Cranial nerves
  2. Neurologic assessment
    1. Mental functions
    2. Balance
    3. Reflexes
    4. Cranial nerves
  3. Upper and lower motor neuron dysfunction.
  4. Muscle tone
    1. Normal
    2. Spastic
    3. Flaccid
  5. PNF
    1. Patterns
    2. Techniques
  6. Facilitation/inhibition techniques described in PNF for strengthening or improving range of motion:
    1. Repeated contractions
    2. Rhythmic initiation
    3. Slow reversal
    4. Slow reversal-hold
    5. Contract/relax
    6. Hold relax
  7. Common neurological approaches
    1. Motor control
    2. Bobath
    3. Rood
    4. Brunnstrom
  8. Motor reflexes
    1. Primitive
    2. Tonic
    3. Righting
    4. Equilibrium
    5. Normal/abnormal
  9. The neurodevelopmental sequence.
    1. Pivot prone
    2. Prone on elbows
    3. Prone on extended elbows
    4. Rolling prone to supine
    5. Rolling supine to prone
    6. Sitting
    7. Hands and knees
    8. Creeping
    9. Pull to stand
    10. Cruising
    11. Walking
  10. Vestibular system
    1. Disorders
    2. Treatment approaches

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. The primary modalities for relay of information from the instructor is lecture and discussion.
  2. Written quizzes, major exams and homework assignments are included.
  3. All evaluation results are shared with each student on an individual or group basis soon after test administration to ensure comprehension of all material.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Attend two hours of lecture per week.
  2. Students are responsible for all assigned readings and materials presented in class.
  3. Written materials will be assigned to be completed outside of class.
  4. Students are expected to actively participate in class activities.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Required texts:
    O’Sullivan, Improving Function Outcomes in Physical Rehabilitation, F.A. Davis,
    O’Sullivan: Physical Rehabilitation Assessment and Treatment, F.A. Davis,
    Or texts of comparable content
  2.  Selected handouts
  3.  Selected audio-visual material

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Written assignments
  2. Quizzes, announced and unannounced
  3. Written tests
  4. Final exam
  5. Lecture attendance, class participation and professional attitude and behavior will also be considered in computing the final grade.
    Grades will be determined on a total point basis computed into a percentage. The grading scale is as follows:
    A: 90.0-100
    B: 80.0-89.9
    C: 70.0-79.9
    It is not the policy of this program to "round up" grades.

XI.   Other Course Information

Will vary depending on instructor but will include mandatory attendance for all lectures. Recurrent absences or tardiness may result in lowered grade. Students found guilty of plagiarism or cheating are subject to dismissal and/or disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

There will be no make ups of announced or unannounced Exams or quizzes. Late homework assignments will not be accepted.

Correct spelling is required on all written assignments. Incorrect spelling will be penalized.

Students guilty of plagiarism/cheating are subject to dismissal from the program and/or disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.