Brain injury is for the Institutes the cause of a series of symptoms that mainstream medicine defines as diseases: Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation. But the terms used are many: subnormal, spastic, flaccid, rigid, epileptic, athetoid, hyperactive…
The intuition of Glenn Doman and his collaborators has been to identify the origin of all these so-called “diseases” in any lesion of the physical structure of the brain arising from different causes: genetic mechanisms, trauma, hypoxia… In the words of the founder, Glenn Doman:
“When we talk about brain-injured children here at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, we refer to all those kids to whom something has happened that has caused damage to the brain. That something may have happened at any time: at conception, or a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month or nine months after conception. It can occur at birth, or a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year or ten years after the birth. It can also happen seventy years after birth, only that is called a brain-injured adult.
If you had the opportunity to enter into an operating room and observe an injured brain, you might even be able to see the lesion, which may consist of an obvious damage limited to a small area, or damage invisible to the naked eye and spread over a wider area: in this case, the problem would be visible only with a microscope.
In other cases, the disorder may be at the level of the neuro cellular functions, and not be visible with today’s technology. In some cases, neurological examinations, magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalograms, evoked potentials, and other tests may show abnormalities. In other cases, the tests do not show anything. The brain can be severely damaged, or only slightly. It can be damaged in such a way as to limit the ability to walk, or talk, or hear, or see, or feel to the touch. Or a combination of these symptoms.
Sometimes other damages have occurred at different times. Sometimes a child has a brain injury whose cause is obvious: a severe trauma or infection. Other times you can not identify a cause with certainty.
When in this book we speak of a brain-injured child, we refer to a child who, for one or more causes, has a brain injury. Although sometimes the causes may be similar, each case is different: they affect only one unique individual in the world, a child with a personal potential.
a. Some children have cerebral injuries due to causes that require immediate medical or emergency admission. These injuries can be caused by infection, bleeding, tumors, trauma, progressive hydrocephalus, or one of several other conditions in which medical intervention is essential to ensure the survival of the child or to limit brain damage. This usually occurs in the emergency room or hospital.
Once the acute phase has passed, the child may end up with brain damage. The brain-injured child may have more or less serious problems in walking, talking, hearing, vision or tactile perception. If left untreated, these problems can become chronic or permanent. We see the children when the emergency has passed and the situation is now stable.
It is critical that these children begin treatment as soon as possible to initiate rapid healing. However, even those who are brain-damaged for several years do benefit from our program.
b. Then there is the so-called brain-injured child “mentally deficient “, meaning that that child has an abnormal or malformed brain. This may be due to a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome, or one of the numerous problems that can occur in the development of a child before birth. In these cases, the malformations may also affect other organs or body parts.
At one time we believed that children with brain malformations or the victims of genetic problems would not have benefited from the care. Many of these children were locked up in institutions for the rest of their days. We have many brain-injured children in the program where CT and MRI scans showed abnormalities in brain development of all types and at all levels.
We now know that even if a brain differs at the structural level, however, it will respond to stimulation and treatment. Even these children can then access our neurological care program.
c. Finally, there is the brain-injured child suffering from neurodegenerative disease: that is, children who have an illness that involves the progressive destruction of the brain and nervous system.
In some cases, a metabolic factor, or other similar problems can be identified and modified using alimentation, or by altering the physiological environment of the brain. This allows us to heal the remaining brain injury.
Sometimes a particular disease can result in the relentless destruction of the brain and nervous system and in these cases, unfortunately, our program can not have significant effects. Fortunately these cases are rare”.
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