Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child

I don't know where to begin. About 6 months ago my life took a dramatic turn. Someone introduced me to Glenn Doman's work, and I began reading all of his books. They were basic parenting books -- how to give your children knowledge. I thought of Callie as I read the pages, though my friend said she thought it would be good for Samantha too. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I read What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child. This book is, to say the least, revolutionary. In it, he details all their research and how his program came to life.

After fighting in the Battle of the Bulge (interesting), he became a physical therapist where he worked with many stroke patients -- old and young. After a years time of massaging, stretching, doing exercises, no one showed any improvement, and some, even, were worse. How could this be? What he realized was that the traditional methods (back in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s) were only attempting to correct the symptoms of the real problem. The real problem is what he calls "brain injury." The injured brain could have received its injury before the baby was even born. Or, the injury, such as stroke, occurred later...post-natal. Of course this is the reader's digest version of the reader's digest....but he got a team together -- with Temple Faye (renowned neurologist...interesting article using his methods for autism found here) and other knowledgeable people in their fields -- to work together to come up with some answers. Why aren't people getting better? How do we fix the brain? What are parents supposed to do with their brain-injured children?

After coming up with a "plan" to help their patients, the results were phenomenal. As they did "exercises" that "exercised" the brain, patients were walking who had been in wheelchairs their entire lives, blind patients were seeing, deaf patients were hearing. Nearly 100% of their patients showed improvement after a year's time, and most showed significant improvements.

Doman and his team didn't claim to be miracle workers...just doctors who wanted to really fix the problem. He said there are a few cases that they couldn't help. But due to the impressive results, the received funding necessary to open a clinic and doctors and patients were coming from all over the world to Philadelphia to see and learn for themselves. That institute is still there. They still see patients. Other institutes throughout the world have been opened (Japan, Argentina, Brazil) to do this work within their own regions.

What is interesting to me, aside from the dramatic results that they saw, is that at one time these methods were considered extremely radical...yet today, some of these methods are widely used. Patterning. Oxygen therapy. Some of this stuff doesn't sound so strange anymore. Though some of the old school traditional methods are still used, they are often blended with the discoveries made by Doman and his team decades ago. They are becoming more and more mainstream.

I have mentioned this before, but I have always felt like I needed to keep searching for Samantha. I feel like we've had some amazing therapists, but they didn't have all the answers that Samantha needed...and then, Elaine led me here. I can't tell, after all the researching I've done to find out more about these methods, read the medical journals, etc...I can't begin to explain the peace I feel. I don't feel the need to keep searching because I finally feel like we have found it for her.

I don't believe I'm as naive to believe that Samantha is going to be "cured" or miraculously "healed," but I do have faith...and I would even say spiritual confirmation that we have commenced the proper course for Samantha for her to achieve her potential. I'm not looking for Samantha to be healed, I'm looking for her to be the little girl Heavenly Father intended her to be in this lifetime. For many reasons, He intended her to be microcephalic, with seizure disorder, developmental delay, etc. I'm ok with that, as long as I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing in this lifetime, and becoming who I'm supposed to be, too.

Sammy and I -- and Marcus and Callie and Grammy and Bampa and Colin and Grandma and Grandpa and and and -- we're all in this together. And I'm so excited!

One thing I'd like to mention is that his therapy program, though varying from child to child depending on their needs (just like any other therapy, hopefully) is very parent/family-centered. A therapist came from Texas to assess Sammy and set up a routine that we do with her at home daily. It's been good so far.

Whether you plan on changing your methods of therapy for your child or not, I recommend this book. It's easy to read and understand and is just very eye opening.


  1. Hmmmmm. I'm so intrigued. The concepts sound a lot like ABM philosophy - which I love and believe in whole-heartedly, because I've seen results from it. So is this type of therapy expensive, or is it just a one-time visit? I'm off to research! And I'd love for you to do a book review post on kidz -- you could just copy and paste if you want!

  2. I might have to take your book recommendation...

    I'd heard of it but opted not to read it based on what I read about their clinic on Wikipedia (not the be-all-end-all source for sure, but still). Basically I hadn't read it because I deal with a good dose of guilt daily (that I'm not doing enough, not pt'ing enough, etc) and I read that their treatments can highly increase the amount of parent work/guilt. But I might just have to check it out after all, since you said it was good.... :)



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