In Memory of Ann Ball

Director of The Institutes for Physiological Excellence

On May 30 we celebrate the birthdate of Ann Ball, a caring, energetic, feisty and pioneering staff member. Ann passed away this month, a few weeks before her 89th birthday, in her homeland of England, after living a long and fulfilling life of service to brain-injured children and their families.

Ann was born in Leicester, England and studied physical therapy at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. She worked extensively with pathological disorders and with patients in intensive care, and her particular specialty was respiratory therapy.

In 1976 she met Glenn and Katie Doman through a friend connected with The Institutes. Having worked with children in coma, Ann was fascinated by The Institutes work with brain-injured children and joined the staff in Philadelphia in 1977.

Ann began her training in The Institute for the Achievement of Physiological Excellence, learning about the respiratory programs being developed. A year later she joined the staff of the School for Human Development.

Although she was 50 years old at that time she insisted on joining the students on the Human Development Course. When Glenn Doman pointed out to Ann that no one younger than 30 had ever attempted to do the course side-by-side with the students, she did not bat an eye. When he proposed she wait until spring time to do so, she saw no good reason to hold up her training until then. She suited up and went out into the snow of January.

She never looked back.

That was Ann – tough as nails. First one up, last one to bed – she could take a schedule that most young people could not.

She later joined The Institute for the Achievement of Intellectual Excellence, where she assisted in the design and teaching of intellectual programs for brain-injured and well children.

Ann returned to The Institute for the Achievement of Physiological Excellence to lend her experience to the staff’s intense research into respiration. There, she personally monitored the respiratory patterning program of each child on the clinic program and was a vital member of the CO2/O2 research program. She became the director of the The Institutes for Physiological Excellence and served in that role into her 80s. With great kindness, patience, and care, she taught parents and children how to carry out the respiratory and oxygen enrichment programs at home and constantly monitored their progress.

In the ensuing years, Ann lectured in the United States, Japan, and Italy, and she observed children in Brazil, Mexico, Holland, France, the Channel Islands, and Spain. She served children throughout the world, particularly in the United States, Brazil, England, Japan, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Uganda.

Ann received certification in child brain development at the teaching level in 1982. For her work with brain-injured children she received the Brazilian Gold Medal of Honor, Sakuro Koro Sho, the Leonardo da Vinci Award, the Raymundo Veras Medal of Humanity and Science, and the Statuette with Pedestal. She was a fellow of the International Academy for Child Brain Development and a member of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor.

As an avid gardener, Ann worked side-by-side with Kathie Doman and the staff, helping to beautify and maintain The Institutes grounds, and was often seen outdoors, planting, weeding, and maintaining the numerous flower gardens.

A few years ago, Ann retired to England to be with her family, but she is remembered by fellow staff members for her friendship, energy, and fun-loving spirit, and particularly for her kindness and dedication to the families she served.

There are so many things we would like to say about her here but we will wait until we can all be together again in the beautiful Valentine Auditorium, that she loved, shoulder-to-shoulder, not six feet apart, and celebrate the life of this wonderful staff member.

When asked Janet Doman commented “I feel so sorry for me and I feel sorry for all of those who knew and loved her – a world without her in it does not feel right. But, I do not feel sorry for Annie wherever she is right now, and wherever she is going, you can bet she is going to do nothing but good when she gets there. That’s Ann.”

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