Hurt Kid Victories: Understanding
Results: The only thing that matters in the world of hurt kids
In the world of brain-injured children understanding is a critical issue. It can be a life and death issue. When the world sees a hurt child it often decides his fate based upon the assumption that he is not intelligent. Once he is assigned this lower condition, he is seen as less deserving and less worthwhile. How else can we explain the places where hurt kids are routinely warehoused, medicated and forgotten? The children included here had significant problems in the auditory pathway that could have put them at risk and ruined their lives. Parents, and stimulation, as always, were the answer.
At birth, a newborn baby is deaf: the baby has a startle reflex. This is the first stage of beginning to hear.
A newborn baby needs strong contrast: White dots on a black background provides appropriate visual contrast Mother will also provide auditory contrast for the newborn– sound and silence.
As the baby matures, the baby begins to hear loud threatening sounds. This is the second stage of differentiating mere sound from potentially threatening sound.
When a baby begins to be able to perceive meaningful sounds this means the baby is beginning to have useful hearing.
Injury to the brain either before, during or after delivery can result in poor or inconsistent hearing. This is because of injury to the auditory pathway, not injury to the ear. It is essential to differentiate these two very different problems otherwise inappropriate treatments can be prescribed that permanently damage an otherwise healthy auditory pathway that could have been treated.
After stimulation, the same baby only, weeks later is ready to hear the meaningful sound that matches that visual stimulation “Zebra”.
Appropriate stimulation and opportunity are the answer when a sensory pathway is in trouble. When the auditory pathway is provided with stimulation with increased frequency, intensity, and duration in recognition of the orderly way in which the brain develops, the auditory pathway will grow. The child will begin to understand meaningful sounds and then words. Once a child begins to respond consistently to words then we can begin to evaluate the child’s understanding. Once a child can understand at least as well as a three-year-old an understanding victory is awarded.
Brody loves his books
Born 17 weeks premature, Brody weighed one pound, two ounces. On the fourth day he was diagnosed with a Grade IV brain hemorrhage in both ventricles. Brody stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 148 days. Parents began their own treatment 12 to 14 hours daily. They attended the What to Do About Your Brain-injured Child course when Brody was 19 months and started an intensive program at home. Eight weeks later his understanding was at age level. Three months before his third birthday his understanding was evaluated again it was as good as a three-year old and in some areas better. He received an understanding victory at that time. He also was enjoying reading hundreds single words and large print books with sophisticated content – well above his peers.
Ava answers her mother’s questions using a choice board
Ava was born 14 weeks premature by a C-section, she weighed 2 pounds and 11 ounces. She had jaundice and respiratory distress and was put on a series of ventilators. All together she had seven surgeries on the brain in the first 9 months of life. Additional diagnoses as Cerebral Palsy, Epileptic. Parents attended the What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child course when Ava was 31 months. She understood at about an 18-month-old level at that time. Parents provided a home program of maximum stimulation and optimum opportunity and Ava progressed rapidly. She understands more than 3 years old level before she became 3 years old. At 41 months of age Ava understands at age level or above. She readily makes deals with others, follows 2-step instructions consistently, and reads large print books at a 6 to 7-year-old level with full comprehension.
It is now clear that Yuma is extremely intelligent – Mother’s biggest problem is keeping up with him!
Yuma is a twin born 13 weeks premature by an emergency C-section due to a breech presentation. He weighed one kilogram. Yuma was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Periventricular Leukomalacia due to prematurity. When Yuma was two years old his parents attended the What To Do About Your Brain-Injured course and immediately started their own home program. When he started Yuma understood at about the level of a seven month old. After having a program of maximum stimulation and optimum opportunity his progress was remarkable. By 38 months of age he understood well above his age level. He now understands sophisticated expressions in both Japanese and English. He has received an understanding victory. He also uses more than 1,000 words of speech and can use a letterboard to write his more sophisticated ideas and comments. He is also walking independently now as means of transportation.
Agnira was born 17 days post maturely and stopped breathing twenty hours after her birth. She was resuscitated after 18 minutes, intubated, tube fed, and monitored subsequently. She was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and later with epilepsy, spasticity, microcephaly, cortical visual impairment, and quadriplegia. At three years of age, Agnira had limited vision, hearing, understanding, and she was unable to move. Her parents attended the What to Do About Your Brain-Injured Child course, and within six months, she was smiling back at her parents and seeing across the room, saying her first words, and had been seizure free. Within a year, at 4 ½ years of age, Agnira achieved three Victories: Reading, Understanding, and Language. She had been seizure free for more than a year. Agnira loves her reading program and has been presented with a vocabulary of 500 words, and she was speaking in words and couplets. She loved information about nature, a favorite topic is gemstones and where they are found in the world.
Two weeks after Ivana was born, she had a prolonged seizure due to low blood sodium. She was hospitalized and induced into a coma for one week and given cardiac medication for arrhythmia. She was diagnosed with mental deficiency and microcephaly. She developed very slowly. At five years of age, her understanding and speech were at a two-year-old level. She was hyperactive, and aggressive with others, and had many temper tantrums. Ivana’s parents attended the What to Do About Your Brain-Injured Child course and started working intensively with her. By six years of age, Ivana had begun to read words, phrases, and books. Her understanding developed significantly it was now double what it had been. She was following multiple step directions and comparable to her cousins the same age in both understanding and speech. She was able to wait and be reasoned with like any three-year-old would. Ivana has been awarded an Understanding Victory.
Matthew a twin, and once it was discovered he was detached from the placenta and not receiving adequate nutrition, he was delivered by c-section in the seventh month of pregnancy. He remained in the neonatal intensive care unit for seven weeks, receiving oxygen and tube feeding. Matthew developed slowly, and at 18 months, he was not understanding or speaking at his age level, nor interacting with others. He had upper respiratory infections and was hospitalized twice for gastroenteritis. He was diagnosed with global developmental delay, mental deficiency, and autism. Mother attended the What to Do About Your Brain-Injured Child course when Matthew was 3 ½ years old. He was speaking in single words he could walk but preferred to be carried. His overall development was 40% of what it should have been. Mother and Matthew worked on a program at home. By his first appointment at The Institutes at age four, Matthew had begun speaking in sentences, he could run 100 meters non-stop, and his health had improved. Today, just after his 5th birthday, Matthew is following multiple step instructions, and he has begun reading, well ahead of his peers. He received an Understanding Victory. His language has exploded, from 100 words previously to more than a thousand, including long sentences and storytelling. He is now running ½ mile non-stop each day, and he has been in perfect health for the last six months. Best of all, Matthew, and his twin, Simon, are enjoying all they do every day with their best teacher and coach, Mother.
Each of these children had a very rough start in life. Neonatal care now saves the lives of thousands of preemies who even a decade ago might not have survived. But all too often preemies have very significant neurological problems, as these three children did. These parents did not accept the conventional thinking that their babies would not have a full life. Instead, these children are getting a fighting chance to have a full life thanks to the hard work and dedication of their mothers and fathers.