I probably should just go ahead and create a single file on this, since I
think I end up posting it about yearly or so.
Glenn Doman, a physical therapist, got the idea after working with WWII
veterans, that children with brain injuries should be able to recover from
these injuries as well, by going through a forced "patterning" of body
movements. He tried this on a few children, and it seemed to work, which led
to the Institute for the Advancement of Human Potential. The theories were
refined through the work of Carl Delacato, who believed that this could have
application to children with Downs, Autism, and similar conditions. This was
later applied to students with learning disabilities, students who were
"slow learners", and, eventually, to just plain normal kids who the parents
wanted to make smarter.
Later on, in response to his book "How to Help Your Brain Injured Child",
Doman wrote several other books, which still exist in pretty much their
original form, including "How to teach your baby to read", "How to teach
your baby math" and"Give your child universal intelligence". Summaries of
these books were printed in Women's magazines, and many of the reviews seem
to almost have the attitude that "if you don't do this, you're a bad
All of Doman's methods have the same basic features in common. They all are
very rigid and segmented, and take a huge amount of parent/adult time. The
physical patterning requires five people to move the child's body for him
for some of the activities. The child has no choice, no volition, and no
control. Since at the time this was started, students with disabilities
weren't welcome in many public school classrooms, the goal was to
"normalize" the child and hide the disability. It was a high stress activity
both for the parents and the child, and the term "plateau panic" was coined
to describe the situation where the child stops improving. The parents were
cautioned not to stop the program if the child fought it, because, like
eating vegetables, it was to help the child.
Two accounts written of Doman families are
"A boy called hopeless" and "No time for Jello"
Both have positive outcomes, but show the stress this placed on the family.
In the 60's and 70's, thousands of children went through the IAHP, first
those who had definite disabilities, and later, those who had parents who
just were willing to spend a lot of money and time to make their child
"better." Doman only took those who he considered able to be helped, with
the result that the deck was stacked to children who had developmental
disabilities which would improve with time, or just plain intelligent
children who already were above average and would be a success for the
By the mid/late 80's, there were starting to be long-term studies of the
"Doman Babies". These children were now in their teens and college years,
and certain commonalities had begun to emerge.
1. Most of these children had a very low tolerance for personal failure, and
were generally unable to accept that any situation did not have its roots in
them personally-a very high internal locus of control. While some of this is
desirable, these children, as teens and adults tend to be very prone to
severe depression and suicide attempts, because when they run into things
they can't control, they simply can't deal with the situation. A bad work
situation or a just plain unfair situation is next to impossible for one of
these individuals to handle emotionally, because they automatically accept
Girls, especially, who went through the Doman programs, have a high
frequency of ending up in abusive relationships and not getting out of them,
because this self-blame and internal locus of control feeds the tendencies
of an abusive personality.
This has been attributed to both the lack of control in the early years and
the high level of parental stress. Other studies have shown similar effects
in children who have experienced extreme situations, such as severe abuse by
a parent, living in a war zone, etc.
2. Many of these students were later diagnosed with some rather unusual
learning disabilities, especially those related to spacial perception and
perceptual motor skills, and usually only found in children who were unable
to develop movements naturally. This is believed to be because, while the
patterning attempted to create a normal development cycle, it effectively
meant that the child didn't develop at the time the child needed to develop.
While the child was being taught to crawl, he/she missed out on what he
would have been doing at the time. While the child was being given eye
exercises to speed reading, he/she wasn't developing the visual skills
3. Many of these individuals have significant difficulties socially, and, as
children, were unable to interact with other children. In adulthood, these
individuals have difficulty making social relationships, and often seem
rather "cold" or "aloof". This is probably a combination of a lack of social
interaction with children and also a body language issue, because the body
movements taught tend to come off as hostile.
4. Some of the Doman covering techniques, designed to make a disability less
obvious, actually cause physical damage in the long term. Other children,
especially children with Downs, were subjected to facial plastic surgery,
which, because of their young age at the time, has sometimes caused problems
and required further surgeries later. In addition, the child was sometimes
forced to lie and hear their parents lying about their abilities and
disabilities for years at a time, which wasn't exactly good psychologically
for the child.
I, unfortunately, know too well these traits. I was a Doman baby (born with
cerebral palsy). While the Doman methods may have increased my physical
abilities, and made me "acceptable" to enter school, I have also paid the
price. I was fortunate in that one of my college psychology professors (Dr.
Michael Shaugnessy, who has done some of the long-term studies on Doman
Babies) recognized the traits in me and asked about my history, which let me
both have access to the data and see that I wasn't alone, and led me to get
therapy to help with the emotional and social ramifestations.
Nothing makes up for the physical, though. I have a severe visual-spacial
cognitive disorder, which basically gives me very little depth perception,
and tends to scramble things which have both a vertical and horizontal
component. Driving, or even riding in a car, is terrifying for me, although
I've learned to judge it, because I can't judge the amount of space around
me as well, and even when my intellectual mind knows that I'm safe, my
visual senses tell me otherwise. I don't handle crowds of humans well for
the same reason.
I also have wearing of my joints and arthritis, which has been attributed to
my being taught to keep a rigid posture and closed in body position to hide
the muscle movements typical of CP. This didn't stop the movements, but what
it did do was put the strain on my body. As a result, my bones and joints
are aging at about 2 times my chronological age, and I will be much less
mobile over the long term because of this. I also deal with pain daily
because of this.
I am actually better off than many of the Doman children, because I only
went through the program for 2 years. Some children went through this for as
long as 10, and often were homeschooled or tutored to allow time for the
program, which meant that the child had almost no social interaction.
While it is much harder to study children who were exposed to the Doman
methods at home, since for several years the books were extremely popular,
teens and adults who appear with similar symptoms can often recollect the
activities which were listed there, when asked about their pre-school years.
While the newer editions of the books look to be a bit "softer"-they give
time limits and talk of the importance of social interaction with other
children, the original umpteen printings are still on library shelves all
over the world.
Robert Doman (Glenn's son) is still continuing to work with developmental
disabilities, however the methods are now much softer and more
developmentally appropriate, and the therapies are now limited only to
disabled children. Many of the techniques pioneered by Doman and Delacato
are still used in early intervention programs-just in less stringent and
structured ways. There is no denying that this work really pushed early
intervention, but like many experiments, it had consequences not expected.
I don't blame my parents for deciding to do the program-at the time, it was
the best option out there for helping a child with a disability. I do hope
that my experiences have helped make it better for children now.
@wicked.witch> wrote in message
> On Thu, 04 Jul 2002 21:33:12 -0400, Rosalie B.
> >cppfis...@aol.com (CPPfister) wrote:
> >>From: Rosalie B. gmbeas...@mindspring.com
> >>>She may also be of an age to remember a time when reading problems were
> >>>linked to lack of crawling. Those studies are (I'm told) discredited
> >>>but people in our day sometimes made heroic efforts to 'reprogram' kids
> >>>that were considered not to have crawling time.
> >>Which brings up a question I have. I overheard an acquaintance talking
> >>his baby to another member of the choir. He said the baby will pull up
> >>then walk wherever they want to go. The dad said that they would take
> >>baby back and make him crawl instead. The other choir member (an older
> >>woman) nodded understandingly. When I asked why on earth they would
> >>do that, the woman turned to me and said, "Babies need to crawl to get
> >>the left-right motion down. It makes them more coordinated." Now, I
> >>never heard that a baby who can already walk should be forced to crawl,
> >>but I didn't say anything because I thought maybe they knew something
> >>I didn't.
> >>How about it? Is there a problem with babies that don't crawl before
> >It used to be thought that kids with (I think) reading problems had the
> >problem because they did not crawl, and never got that alternate hand
> >thing ingrained into their coordination memory. Someone who was a victim
> >of that program posted a lot of information about it but I no longer
> >remember who. If I have time I'll do a google search.
> >grandma Rosalie
> The key word is Doman and he is still practicing, but not sure if he
> changed the patterning component.
> Glenn Doman is the *Teach your Baby to Read* guy.
> There is no sound, no cry in all the world
> that can be heard unless someone listens ..
> source unknown