Learning Problems and Developmental Delay: German [UPDATE]
His Early Years
After losing her first baby, mother learned that she had a severe thyroid problem, and a blood incompatibility. Eighteen months later, a second baby was conceived. Ultrasounds were planned monthly to monitor the baby’s progress. Although doing her best to maintain her health, Mother contracted a viral infection in the first trimester. In the eighth month of pregnancy, a Cesarean section delivery was scheduled due to the baby’s breech position. Mother underwent injections to help the baby’s lung mature for the early delivery.
For months he lay immobile
One day prior to delivery, the baby had an irregular heart beat and fetal distress. At birth, the baby had the umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck. He was a small and quiet baby. Mother was advised to place the baby on his back, and for months he lay immobile.
When the baby was 7 months of age, Mother attended The Institutes How To Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence Course. She learned the great value of placing her baby on his belly, and soon he was crawling and creeping, and then walking.
At two years of age, the little boy had typhoid with a high fever. He had frequent colds and was given antibiotics repeatedly. He suffered from numerous allergies, asthma, and bronchitis. He was placed on the steroid cortisone to open his blocked airways in emergencies.
At three years of age while in preschool, he stood apart from the other children. He played alone and did not respond to verbal directions.
“I was in denial about my child. He could speak German, Spanish, and English but he was absent from life. When other children tried to hit the piñata at a party German did not participate. It broke my heart to watch.”
At seven years of age, his mother describes her son: “It is difficult for him to follow orders and to pay attention to the teacher’s instructions. When the other children are writing or drawing, his paper is blank. While the other children are paying attention to the teacher; he switches off. When the teacher asks questions, he never answers. He avoids any kind of manual activity; he hates writing. He has problems understanding numbers and mathematics. He fails at games due to his inability to concentrate, and he tires very easily. It is very difficult for the teachers to understand his problems.
He is hypersensitive to touch, smell, and taste. He washes his hands all the time to rid himself of anything that touches them. He does not like to be hugged, and asks for the tags in his clothing to be removed. Sounds bother him and he complains about voices and crowds, and covers his ears. He sleeps poorly, and is very irritable. He does not chew well, even at his age. He often covers one eye, and he cannot decide which hand to use to eat or use scissors.
For me, it is as if the sun were totally eclipsed by the moon; his capability is blocked. He is interested in many things and wants to learn them, but he cannot get focused. Our son needs help desperately.”
After attending The Institutes What to Do About Your Brain Injured Child course, parents learned their son had a moderate, diffuse, bilateral, cortex and midbrain injury. The family immediately embarked upon the Intensive Treatment Program with their boy.
After one year of his home program German was a different boy
After one year of home treatment, their son was enjoying perfect health. He followed a highly nutritious diet very responsibly, and no longer had stomach problems or frequent respiratory infections.
He was crawling in a perfect cross pattern, running three kilometers daily, and had learned to brachiate independently. He had become proficient in gymnastics.
Now he was a full year ahead of his peers in mathematics, reading books for ten-year-olds, interacting well with his peers, and becoming an outstanding violin student
His learning problems were gone and he was advanced in most areas. A year previously, he had trouble counting in sequence, now he was a full year ahead of his peers in mathematics. At eight years of age, he was reading books for ten-year-olds. He was interacting well with his peers, and had become an outstanding violin student.
A year earlier, he wrote slowly and illegibly, and hated to write. Now he was carrying a notebook throughout the day to jot down ideas for his creative writing. He wrote, typed and edited a book of science fiction ten chapters long completely independently. He greatly enjoyed every minute of doing so.
Soon he was ready to return to the private school for advanced studies
Another special project was to build a 1,500 piece robot with Lego which again he did independently, following the written instructions.
He graduated from his home program and re-entered his challenging private school for advanced studies.
The young student who could not focus, did not answer, could not count, and hated to write had become a bright, enthusiastic, and highly successful student, the same boy but now able to use his abilities to their fullest.
Mother was recently asked by the English teacher “Did your son tell you the good news? According to the test, he is the most advanced reader in the class. He will now be promoted three levels, there is only one more level to the top, and then he will read novels by Charles Dickens and others. He is well above his age level.”
“I wondered why my son had the problems he had. He is now healthy, strong, and happy, too. There is not a single day that we do not feel gratitude.”
Mother adds, “…and English is his third language! You always say you are the luckiest people on earth doing the job you do with the all the families you love. I think we are even luckier because we met you and could take part. At the beginning, I wondered why my son had the problems he had. Now I know it was to give us the opportunity to help him. He is now healthy, strong, and happy, too. There is not a single day that we do not feel gratitude.”
The tall young man with the engaging smile stepped forth in the Valentine Auditorium to speak with the parents attending the What To do About Your Brain-Injured Child course. German and his parents had arrived on a hot June day to visit the staff and see the families.
German lights up when describing his life and his love of math, languages, athletics and spending time with his friends. Five years after graduating from the Intensive Treatment Program, German continues to be an outstanding student at a challenging school. His parents are extremely proud of his achievements and are confident that he will succeed in life.
At 16, German is eligible to apply for enrollment in Oxford or Cambridge University
When German was 16 years old, Mother brought us up-to-date: “He got top marks on the IGCSE examinations. With these scores, he is eligible to apply for enrollment in Oxford or Cambridge University in two years. He told me he hasn’t decided if he would like to do so, or not yet!”
Now German is 18 years old and mother tells us: “At the moment we are in Vienna and apparently German is going to study engineering here at the TU (Technological University). I am very happy to share with you that German did very well at the International Baccalaureate with a 6 in higher-level physics (only 3 points from a 7).”
Before graduating high school, German achieved top marks on special exams, and was eligible to apply for Oxford or Cambridge University when he was 18 years old. He told his parents he had not yet decided that he wanted to go to those schools. He would think about it!
In high school, in track and field he became a great runner. He did the fastest run in his school’s history breaking a record that stood for sixty years until he came along!
In his last year of high school, he was in advanced mathematics, physics, chemistry, and economic classes.
His goal was to become an engineer.
German succeeded with his International Baccalaureate with especially high marks in Physics.
Because German wanted to be an engineer he decided against Oxford and Cambridge and chose the Technological University in Vienna, Austria, where he has been accepted and has been studying for the last two years.
He tells us how he is doing after his first year there:
“I hope you are great. At the moment I am enjoying my summer vacation and getting ready for a great semester starting in October. I wanted to write this letter to tell you how everything is going and update you on my first year of university in Vienna.
Academically everything went great, mathematics and physics were my favorite subjects. What I found most challenging was the fact that everything was in a new language which I never learned at school, just by speaking with my father at home (German). However, after the first semester, I understood practically everything in my classes and things became clearer. During my first semester I also joined a soccer team and it went quite well, as we finished 4th and only one point away from 3rd place. I hope that we can win the title next season.
During my second semester I went to a 5 K race with some friends and ended up in third place out of all my university colleagues. It was quite exciting. I have also been biking lately and 3 weeks ago I went on a biking tour around Mexico City with one of my friends. It took over three hours but it was relaxing and I got to know more about my own city.
This summer, apart from doing lots of sports such as golf and swimming, I have been studying in order to be prepared for next semester.
I would like to thank you for rescuing me. Without your help and the Institute´s help I wouldn´t have the opportunity to study Mechanical Engineering at the Technische Universität Wien, where the academic instruction is top quality and therefore extremely demanding, and most importantly, now I am enjoying my life while taking challenges.
With love and gratitude.”
We know that German will continue to excel and will one day make his mark in the world. In a sense, he has already made his mark. In his short life, he has traveled a distance that many would have thought impossible. Yes, with the help of his wonderful family but very much based upon his own effort, his own determination and his own courage to stand up and fight for his future.
We salute German and his wonderful family for never giving up, for finding the answer, and for giving every parent diagnosed with developmental delay the hope that their child can have a full and wonderful life.