I am sure you can figure out what a brain injury means, right? An injury to the brain. This can be from birth, like our daughter, it can be from an accident, a near drowning, a genetic disorder or any other scenario that deprives the brain of oxygen. There are profound, severe, moderate, and mild injuries. Not all injuries to the brain can be seen on an MRI or other image and every person has their own symptoms of a brain injury. I believe this where the confusion begins. If your child has been diagnosed with developmental delay, cerebral palsy, Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), an autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, learning problems, aspirer syndrome or any other conditions that affect the function of the brain your child has a brain injury. I know this sounds harsh and I am very so sorry for this. From personal experience I can tell you that hearing those words are awful. To be told that your child’s outcome is so uncertain that she may be blind, never crawl or walk, need multiple surgeries, have seizures for the rest of her life and never be able to feed herself is tough. However, once you know what is wrong you can begin to repair the damage.
I posted earlier that at 3 days old Cate was diagnosed in the hospital with a Grade IV bilateral brain bleed with PVL. You can also say that she has a severe, diffuse, bilateral midbrain and cortex injury. In a way I believe we were lucky to find out so early on and have an ultrasound and several MRI images to show her injury. There was no question that our daughter had this injury. I feel for the parents that know there is something wrong with their child but have no physical proof from the doctor. It doesn’t make their injury better or worse, just more undefined.
That is where The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP or the Institutes) has been so helpful to many families including our family. They are a non-profit in Philadelphia, PA that has been studying and helping brain injured children for almost 60 years. They have worked with families from over 120 nations. You will not find that they have done double blind studies and chances are your doctors have never heard of them. But they are real and I have never seen another group with so many amazing results as they have. Along with their own research they have worked with NASA, well respected neurobiologists, and many others. I believe the reason they have such good results is due to the dedication of the staff and the many years working with brain injured children. They believed early on that the brain is dynamic and ever-changing whereas others thought that brain growth was static. In other words, once a brain was injured that was it, the injury would never go away and you could not get back that brain function. Scientists now recognize the plasticity of the human brain and that it is incredibly capable of recovery and rehabilitation. The Institutes is just 60 years ahead! I have left out so much about the Institutes but you will see in future posts how their programs are helping both of our children. We enrolled in our first course at the Institutes after I read the book “What to do About Your Brain Injured Child” by Glenn Doman. Glenn is one of the founders of the IAHP. This book explains how they got started, the science, and their philosophy. Even if you want to help a well child this is still a good book to read to understand how the brain really works. It is also full of good stories. You can also visit their website at http://www.iahp.org and their youtube page https://www.youtube.com/user/iahpvideos.
We are very optimistic that with prayer, hard work, and help from the Institutes Cate will catch up or surpass her age level physically, intellectually, and socially but she will do this in her own time. She has already come so far. I am excited to share all of her accomplishments with you!