How I Became The Parent I Am Today
Its was a quiet Friday afternoon and I was sitting in the reception chair at the front of a dental office I was working at. Usually I was in the back working as a dental assistant. But all my coworkers were gone to a retreat out of town. I had fibbed and said I didn’t have child care, so I was unable to go out of town. Really I was still upset that Wesley had taken his first steps when I was on the last business trip.
I was there to answer phones, book appointments and take payments if any patients came in. But besides that I was not trained to do much more. So I spent my time googling things I could do to help Wesley learn.
Little did I know this google search was going to change my perspective of children, and change my journey as a mother.
I stumbled upon this book: How To Teach Your Baby To Read by Glenn Doman. The more I read, the more I was intrigued. The things I could teach my young son were amazing and I needed to learn more.
Who Is Glenn Doman
Glenn Doman was a physical therapist in Philadelphia, who realized that what he had been trained to do with his patients was not getting the results they both desired.
He eventually met Dr Temple Fay, who became his’s mentor. They realized that mainstream forms of therapy were not helping the patients. At the time, they and everyone else were only treating the symptoms. What they eventually realized was the problem was not with the patients eyes, legs, etc. The problem was with the brain. Once they treated the brain, the symptoms started to get better.
Glenn Doman founded The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) in 1955. While their work originally started with elderly stroke victims, they soon discovered this method worked even better with children. Parents could be trained in the methods they used, and they soon discovered that there was no better person to run these children’s therapy programs then the child’s parents. Who was more invested in the success of the child then the parents themselves?
Special Needs Children Started Reading Better then Neurotypical Children.
One day a set of parent came into their office and told Glenn Doman that their severely brain injured child could read. To say Glenn and the staff were skeptical was an understatement. But after taking the time to test and observe the child, they soon realized that this child was in fact reading. Not only reading, but reading with full comprehension.
Soon they created the Doman Reading Method based on what they had observed with this young man. And lone behold, other special needs children started to read following this program. Not only did they learn to read, they started reading better then other children their age WITHOUT a brain injury.
If you want to read more about this, please check out the book: What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child by Glenn Doman.
How Glenn Doman Influenced The Way I Raised Wesley
The more I read, the more I needed to know. I got on the phone with our local bookstore and put the book on teaching your baby to read on hold. The clock seem to be moving like molasses as I waited for my shift to end. I went straight from Wesley’s daycare to the bookstore. Once I got Wes to sleep that night, I inhaled that book from cover to cover.
Once I Have Seen, It Cannot Be Unseen
Honestly, this is the phrase of this whole journey. I now knew all the wonderful things I could be teaching my son. How could I not do it now?
I soon realized the program had to be modified. I was a single mom with a full time job. It was OK I could not follow the schedule outlined in the book to a tee, we did our best. We used media like Your Baby Can Learn DVDs(formally Your Baby Can Read) & software like Little Reader during meals. I had words written on index cards with us in the car and in my purse.
Soon he could read 10 words, then 50 words, soon 150 words. The number was climbing daily! Soon my once nonverbal son was reading to me every night.
Off to Public School
When he left homeschool and started grade 1 half way through the year, I knew he could read. I didn’t have to worry about he being left behind in that department. Once you give a child the gift of reading, they can learn almost anything they want to.
Even when he was sitting playing Gameboy with his buddy who was the same age, his friend would often ask him to read to him what the game was asking. Wesley would pause his game, look at the other screen and read the other little boys game instructions to him.
How Glenn Doman Influenced the Early Days of Parenting Zakari
When I found out I was pregnant with Zakari, I was so excited! I was going to be able to raise a Doman Baby from birth! I researched and prepped materials.
Because of Glenn Doman, I believed I could teach my baby anything, as long as I presented it in an honest and factual way.
Zakari has always loved learning.
He started reciting his ABC’s at 12 months. I remember telling his aunt this, and I could tell she really didn’t believe me. Until one day she was holding him and he started singing his ABC’s, and she came up to us and said “Oh My God, he is saying his ABC’s!”
At 16 months old he was reading single words and knew his colours and shapes. At around 2 years old he knew his days of the week. He loved skip counting and singing.
Heading to Philadelphia
Things got a bit difficult for our family in 2014 when Zakari was diagnosed with Autism. We fought tooth and nail and thankfully got Zakari into the same local ABA program Wesley had been in. I knew that by following the Doman Method described in Glenn Doman’s book early on, I had given Zakari a head start. I thought that I could combined these two therapies again like I had for Wesley and he would excel.
While ABA did help Zakari a bit, it wasn’t as effective as it had been for Wesley. Because of government funding cuts, Zakari was also get less services then his older brother had gotten in the past. I knew I had to do something.
So I boarded a plane, and went to Philadelphia to that the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course (A similar course is also offered by Doman International called “The Doman Method: From Special Needs to Wellness” A few years ago IAHP split into two organizations. We are now working with Doman International).
After that week I came back a new person. A new mom. I had a new found respect for my children. As well as a whole new philosophy on how I wanted to educate them.
Homeschooling Using the Glenn Doman Method
I have to say, I got a lot more out of the course then just the programs the staff at the IAHP/Doman International taught us. I completely reevaluated how I originally thought I would homeschool my son. Instead of a workbook centered education, I decided on a literacy based education.
Now a days children are taught to hate learning. Teachers give them a beautiful gift. They teach them math, about their 5 senses, how an ancient society use to live, etc. Then BAM! They throw a test in front of them and want them to regurgitate everything they just learned.
Now learning is stressful. These kids learn they will be tested on this “gift” the teacher is giving them. Instead of enjoying the lesson they are wondering,”Do I have to remember this part?” “Is she going to ask me about this on the test?”
What if your child get really interested in a subject? In public school, too bad, we have a curriculum to follow. No time to dig a little deep. What if a subject bores them to death? Also too bad, it is also part of the curriculum and you better be ready to regurgitate everything on the test.
After attending this course I realized its better for me to just present my child as much information as possible. Expose him to as many books as physically possible. Follow his lead, and dig a little deeper on things that catch his attention. Dump things he’s not interested in.
I realized that I could skipping the long questions and interrogation early on. Later on he would trust me enough to do some fun and simple workbooks. If I keep it very light he’s happy to show me what he has learned. If he doesn’t want to, that’s fine. I trust that he has learned what he has needed from the lesson.
What Glenn Doman Has Taught Me
So while we do some of the programs we learned during our visits to the Institutes, our homeschooling is very different too. But I thank Glenn Doman for my style of homeschool. He taught me several things, but most importantly:
The ability to demonstrate intelligence is not an indication of a child’s actual intelligence.
Learning is a gift I am giving my child. I do not want to ruin it by asking for something back in return. I need to trust he has learned what he has needed from what I have shown him.
I take being my son’s teacher very seriously. Just because his language and fine motor skills are immature, I don’t assume he is less intelligent then the average 6 year old.
On the contrary, I believe he is smarter then that average 6 year old, he just has trouble expressing it. Now I’m not just being one of those mom’s who thinks their kid is better then every other kid. I believe in the right environment every child could do better then average. Actually, I believe every child should have the RIGHT TO DO BETTER THEN AVERAGE.
I look forward to our appointment this summer with Doman International. I can’t wait to learn more about how to help my children grow to their full potential .
Are you familiar with Glenn Doman? If so how has he changed the way you parent your children?
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