Saturday, June 21, 2008


I briefly mentioned alternatives in my last post, and today I'm going to expound on that a little.

When your child has cerebral palsy or some other type of brain injury, the medical establishment is pretty frank about recovery--there isn't any. You can do everything you can to help your child work with the body they have, but in this day and age there is nothing to be done about brain damage. They are the most hopeful about young children, whose brains are especially "plastic" and known to overcome some pretty significant brain damage.

So, when the establishment doesn't give you a lot of options, you investigate the alternatives.

Glenn Doman wrote a book What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child and that was probably one of the first things that I looked into. The book was originally published in the seventies and The books outlines techniques for improving all areas of deficit in a child. After reading the book and also reading a lot of input from parents who have tried the methods, I decided the following: The Glen Doman program has had positive results in the areas of cognition. Many, many children who leave his programs can read and I think that's pretty amazing. I have also heard several parents speak highly of the academic programs. I have begun my own craptastic version of the program with Charlie as outlined in the book Teach Your Child to Read. I have been both surprised and pleased with how interested Charlie seems to be in the word flash cards. He looks carefully at each and every one. I own another book in the series about teaching math, but I'm still trying to get in enough sessions of the reading each day (it's real quick, but I am forgetful).

In my former life, I spent three years teaching children with Dyslexia to read. The methods of Glenn Doman's system are quite similar to the methods for teaching dyslexic children: repeated exposure. Ms. Shaywitz gets very scientific and uses MRI's to prove it, but the point is that if you expose children to something enough, their brains can actually create neural pathways that didn't exist before. That's pretty freakin' incredible.

So, we've decided to adopt the Glen Doman system for education. I have not, however, been convinced by Doman's methods for physical rehabilitation. He doesn't have the same success rate, and quite frankly, the theories don't make sense to me. I'm on a cafeteria plan--I'll take the parts that work for me and leave the rest.

Next time I discuss alternatives, I'll talk about the physical stuff. I'll probably do a post about nutrition and spiritual stuff as well.