Pediatricians agree. Many children are suffering from developmental problems. They also agree that all the problems that parents and teachers see in these children are related to the instinctual movement through the developmental stages being out-of-gas.
That is what the diagnoses of Developmental Disability and Developmental Delay really means. It is what Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Global Developmental Disorder means. This is the basis for Autism (HFA & LFA), Asperger's, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, Learning Disability, CAPD, and many other diagnoses that we talk about as developmental problems. All of these problems are based in the instinctual movement through the developmental stages being blocked.
One of the great present-day mysteries is that many children are not growing up appropriately. They are not following the instinctual developmental process appropriately. They are not following the normal developmental milestones. Not all children are having developmental problems, but the percentage of those with problems is significant.
Professionals estimate that as many as 25%-30% of children (in the USA) are suffering from some developmental problem. Maybe not all of them have enough symptoms to obtain a diagnosis. The American Pediatric Association (APA) tells us that one of every six children in the USA receives a diagnosis for some developmental problem.
The associations for each of the different developmental diagnostic groups publish estimates of the percentage of children that should have a diagnosis for their diagnostic group. They tell us there is a lot of overlap between one diagnostic category and another (for instance, many APD children also have LD and/or Dyslexia). Even assuming there is a lot of overlap, there are still an estimated 17% of children who have enough symptoms that they receive a diagnosis. This matches the APA estimate.
Those associations estimate that only about 50% of those who qualify for a diagnosis actually go and get that diagnosis. If these estimates hold up, this means that (in the USA) there are an estimated 28 million children who are not growing up appropriately.
Humans are good at studying and creating structures. Professionals have studied and categorized all of the different ways that children are not moving through their normal developmental process. From this, they have developed long lists of symptoms which are organized into diagnostic groups. You know these groups as those diagnostic labels listed before.
Professionals are putting their focus on getting more accurate in the diagnostic methods. They are getting better and better at knowing precisely which diagnosis to apply for a specific set of symptoms. All of these diagnostic groups are used to organize different sets of symptoms. All of these symptom sets have two things in common:
1) There is no cure and
2) The instinctual movement through the developmental stages is out-of-gas
What is the treatment?
Parents are usually left on their own to create a treatment approach. They usually have to start a trial-and-error process of examining various training options to find what works for their child. Because of the slow processes of the unique services, it may take years to discover if a program is working for their child.
In some cases, doctors might offer medications. This is also a trial-and-error process until they find some medication which helps in some way. Most of this 'help' from the medications is for the parents and teachers to moderate the behavior of the child to a acceptable level. In some cases, the medications help the child attend, but they do not get the clients to close the discontinuities in their developmental process. Many children say that when taking their medications they become "zombies" or they stop eating or have some other unpleasant side-effect.
Other treatments include psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, special education teachers, and the list goes on. These treatments are designed to deal with the child's symptoms. None of these professionals are trained to get the clients to close the discontinuities in their developmental process.
"There is no cure."
This statement is the most difficult concept to understand and it is an important concept in each of the definitions of all the unique developmental difficulty diagnoses. Professionals in the field know that there is no cure. People in the field are resolved to provide the best services possible, but this knowledge is a weight being carried by everyone. People try to put on a happy face. People want these children to have the most fulfilled life possible. But, because there is no cure, there is little that can be done, and that is a heavy burden everyone carries when teaching children with developmental problems.
The statement is that there is no cure. This is a present-tense statement that at the current time, there is no (known) answer. It is not a statement about the future or the past. It is simply a statement that no one has developed a answer, researched that answer to prove that it works, and published that answer to the world so that others can deliver that answer for their students.
Over many decades, with hundreds of clinicians, academics, and researchers working with many different modalities, no one has found the answer. No one has found the answer for these developmental problems. The field has become so compartmentalized that researchers are rarely searching for something to get the clients to close the discontinuities in their developmental process. They are only working on the symptoms of learning disability or whatever is their specialty. Because of this compartmentalization, they cannot see that all the different diagnoses are all based on the same problem: the instinctual movement through the developmental stages is out-of-gas and something needs to be done to get the clients to close the discontinuities in their developmental process.
People in the field have confused the present-tense phrase, there is no cure, to mean that there never was a cure (past), there is no cure now (present), and there never will be a cure (future). This paradigm, that a cure does not exist and is not possible, is crippling any search into the cure for these developmental problems. There is little funding for finding, developing, or delivering a answer for these developmental problems. One of the problems of any paradigm is that it defines the limits of possibility. In this case, if the prevailing paradigm is that there is no cure, a possible answer will never be found because it is not possible in the minds of the professionals in the field. As a paradigm in this field of developmental problems, there is no cure, is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Teach as much as possible to an un-teachable child
There is little or no program delivered to solve your children's developmental problems. Almost all services are designed to teach as much as possible to an un-teachable child. Because there is no cure, there is little work being done in research to find the answer.
Floor Time is the most promising concept in the field. This is an attempt to reach the child at their developmentally out-of-gas place and work with the developmental tasks that are out-of-gas. It is a good idea, because it tries to go beyond the symptoms and get to the processes at that developmentally out-of-gas place. It falls short because it is not addressing what caused the developmental blockage and it is not working on the brain circuits needed for a smooth, instinctual movement through the developmental stages (after the blockage is removed).
ABA therapy is one of the more popular therapy services available. Many children make some behavioral improvements using ABA. This is one of those approaches which is deeply seated in the paradigm that there is no cure. ABA Therapy has no concept of a person using ABA to become age-appropriate; their patients will continue being developmentally disabled after working with them. ABA does nothing to get the clients to close the discontinuities in their developmental process.
Normally, when we have medical or psychological problems we get a diagnosis and then some treatment. For developmental problems there is strong emphasis in the diagnosis, and little to provide for treatment.
The basic problem for all developmental problems is that the developmental process is out-of-gas. None of the services commonly in use in this field are focused on, or are successful at, getting the clients to close the discontinuities in their developmental process. The normal services for children with developmental problems are designed to teach the children how to become an adult with developmental problems.
The paradigm of there is no cure, is so strong that you are not encouraged to have hope for your child to have a normal life. The future for your child, based on the common paradigm, is to learn as many behaviors as possible to survive as an adult with developmental problems. Special education and ABA and most other programs are designed to prepare your child for transition into adulthood with these problems, but not for transition away from developmental problems.
These services need to become something which prepares their students for a normal life. That is what we offer with our consulting program. We get the clients to close the discontinuities in their developmental process; we offer the opportunity for these children to transition to a normal life.
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RC Bailey has degrees in Social Science and Educational Counseling. He provides gotofocus.com/ consulting for families, which unlocks the natural predisposition for growing up. Checkout his free Developmental Checklist developmental.gotofocus.com/ and his Blog developmentald.blogspot.com
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