Sunday, June 12, 2011

Life Changing Week

I have just come to the end of a most extraordinary week at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia.  Sometime before Christmas I read an amazing book - which in every language other than English is called "Your baby is a Genius" - sadly in the US it is titled "How smart is your baby" - an unfortunate title which sadly puts many people off reading this wonderful book by Janet Doman.

The Institutes (for the Achievement of Human Potential) work primarily with helping severely brain injured children - including Downs children, with recovering  and regaining their full abilities so that they are able to live a completely normal life.   For example one of their students with Downs students, recently completed his masters in economics!

Their belief - for which they have full scientific evidence, is that the brain grows with use, and that the child's physical development is intricately connected and influences what is possible of the brain.  They specifically feel that the the developing child should spend as much time as possible crawling and creeping on the floor (or a clean smooth firm surface). ((This also has the added advantage that your child will sleep better!)) Humans are the only animal (save household pets) that would ever consider sleeping on their backs).  For those of you worried about Sids (which I was originally) - they explained that in the original study which caused the great stir - three out of five of the babies who were thought to have died or sids, were actually found later to have been murdered.  Of course they also had tons of other  scientific papers - which I have yet to read.

It was such a remarkable week.  The staff were so loving, helping each parent to do the best for their child.  They showed demonstrations of their "normal - able children"  - which included a beautiful gymnastics display - 7 year olds acting Shakespeare - suzuki violin playing - Kids learning japanese  - a three year old running a mile faster than I could, and a one year old who was reading full (simple) sentences, as well as the brain injured children overcoming remarkable challenges.

They told us simple things we could do which would make a huge difference in the lives of our children, like at birth taking your child into a black room and turning on the light for about a second and saying "light," then turning off the light for 4 seconds and doing the same 9 more times, three times a day.  This strengthens the visual pathway into the brain, enabling the child to be able to focus the eyes and see much earlier, than if they had not had this experience.

I was also extremely impressed that The Institutes had based their findings on children from across the world, from different civilization with different experiences, with scientists and learned people from across the globe adding to their research.  They have been doing their work for over 50 years.  I can't believe that more people don't know about them.

I should also add that the other parents were just lovely. They were those, who really wanted the best for their child.  About nine of them were still pregnant (Including ME - I just made it to 12 weeks now!)

Please if you know anyone with a brain injured child, let them know about the Institutes - and if you want to help your child of any age learn easier (or if you have something like dyslexia in your family like I do) -  check them out!

Now that I have stopped taking progesterone I have started feeling a whole lot better - and plan to do some "catch up posts" - beginning with my trip to london to visit my mother!  


  1. Sounds like an amazing place. Congrats on making it to 12 weeks.

  2. They do sound great, and I love that their research extends all over the world, but.. I don't think it's fair to say that those parents (or pregnant women, yay for 12 weeks!) attending are the ones who really want the best for their kids. First because I think most parents want what is best for thier kids. Second because there could be other avenues for making the best for your kid. I don't think having a one year old who can read [my daughter is one, so that one most stood out for me..] would have been best for her. It would made a big show and all, come and see how she reads, but I'd actually rather her not read and let her be the baby that she is. She will have a lifetime of reading. Sorry, this is probably my first comment here, so sorry I'm hard, that sentence of yours just bothered me..