We wanted to share how the NeuroDevelopmental Approach dramatically helped our son, Scott. It actually gave him his life. He was just a couple weeks shy of 13 years old when we had our first evaluation in 1989. At that time, Scottie pretty much lived in his own world. He wore bilateral hearing aids. He did not communicate much with us. He was in special education full time and was not learning anything. We lived in Texas and had been moving every year in hopes of a better school situation. He could not even read his own name. Testing measured his IQ at 44. We wanted our son to learn and be a part of our family. The schools kept saying he was not ready to learn. Then they said he was past hope of learning and it was time to teach him life skills. He was twelve years old. Surely he was not past learning. As far as life skills, we thought that was the job of the parents to teach. Besides, the school had been having him wash mats for years. He was already pretty good at that.
That was when we decided to homeschool him. That is when we found the NeuroDevelopmental Approach. It was the most exciting thing. After three months, Scott had a sight vocabulary of 300-350 words. Remember, he could not even sight recognize his own name. After three months, he could do simple addition and subtraction by himself. He had not even been able to rote count. But the greatest thing, he joined our world. He began coming into the living room and following our conversations. He began interacting with us at an entirely new level. Scott’s teacher had called our home after hearing our decision to homeschool, pleading with us that it was a mistake. A year later we saw that teacher in a store. She did not recognize Scott. She could not believe the difference.
It was so exciting to see the changes. To watch the sight word vocabulary transfer into reading books. To see Scott turn addition and subtraction drills into practical use when going to the store. To see Scott no longer needing the hearing aids, after doing sound therapy, as the auditory issues were developmental and thus fixable.
At one point, a few years ago, there was a doctor and his family who joined our church. They came for five weeks before the doctor asked our Pastor if Scott had Down syndrome. When our Pastor confirmed he did, the doctor shook his head. He stated, “I have never seen anyone with Down syndrome so normal”.
Doing a NeuroDevelopmental program with Scott brought him to the place where he had a very good, semi-independent life. Had we started earlier, I have no doubt he would have achieved independent living. He was able to hold down a regular job (without having a job coach there past the initial training). He was a school custodian at an elementary school. The school had three wings. There was a custodian for each wing. Scott was one. The other two were men without any disability. Scott was just one of the guys. His pay check would come in the mail and he would hop on his bike off to the bank to deposit it. He went anywhere in the community he wanted independently. He stayed home alone. He answered the phone and held conversations (albeit short ones). Not bad for a kiddo with an IQ of 44 and starting this approach at nearly 13 years old.
After we saw the phenomenal changes with Scott, we actually considered adopting a child with Down syndrome. I so wanted the opportunity to do things the right way from the beginning. However, the opportunity came up to train in the NeuroDevelopmental Approach. I remember my husband saying, “Well, we can help one child or we can help a bunch of children.” We chose the “bunch”. The bunch has turned into hundreds and hundreds of children over the years. This approach works. We have seen hundreds of children’s lives improved. It works. Even with older children and adults with Down syndrome.
I remember when we trained with Sara-Rosenfeld Johnson. She made the comment how she was happy to see on the history form (of a child she was seeing for the first time) they were doing a NeuroDevelopmental program. She said the children were so much easier to work with. Lori Overland (associate of Sara) told one of our families that children on NeuroDevelopmental programs always seemed so much better in the sensory department.
Our son ended his earthly journey October 2006 due to respiratory and thyroid issues. I believe with all my heart had we been guiding him through a NeuroDevelopmental program early on, we would have known what to do that would have averted the respiratory issues and he would still be alive.
We will forever be grateful to the NeuroDevelopmental Approach. Our son had an incredibly good, fulfilling last seventeen years of his life.
Thanks for letting us share. Our only desire is to help “our” kids reach their full potential. It takes work, but it is worth it.
Lee and Linda Kane