Minimal Brain Dysfunction: “Philip”

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Philip could not speak to be understood until he was four years old. At that point there were only a few words that someone besides myself and his Daddy could understand. We were very concerned. He couldn’t stand noise and began making dull repetitive noises when confusion surrounded him. Lots of pieces to Philip’s puzzle were not on the table.

Our pediatrician joked Philip was the only four year old he knew that spoke fluent Russian. No one could reach this precious treasure. We began searching for answers. Philip had a fall at two months of age and had a skull fracture. All the doctors involved gave him a clean bill of health, “No further complications!”

However, we went to many doctors, never getting a clear picture, always hearing, “He’ll out grow it.” We saw one specialist who at least gave us a “label,” a confirmation we were not crazy, something was different about Philip and it wasn’t going away. The doctor said it was “Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Auditory Processing, Minimal Brain Damage possible.” After nearly two years of speech therapy and many many dollars spent, we were losing hope. There was no marked change, and especially no improvement in Philip’s ability to speak or understand.

Tearfully, nightly, hourly, I prayed “Help me Lord to help your Philip! Give me direction!” Oh, God is faithful! As I felt my sweet blonde hair-blue eyed perfect child was never going to be able to experience God’s world to the fullest, I escaped into an old “Teaching Home” magazine. Blindly, I turned pages I had scoured before. Right in between some highlighted articles was a short brief in the speakers section about NACD, National Association for Child Development. The director, Bob Doman, Jr., worked with homeschooling families and their learning disabled children. I wrote a letter to explain our situation and to see if I could get a new direction. New hope. “Thank you Lord,” I prayed, “thanks for the boost of new hope.”

After receiving a response with tons of information and seeing Philip in so many of the articles, we began to check NACD out. I made MANY long distance calls to people who used the NACD program. Only one said their child had not had any benefit, but then they admitted they had not really done the program with their child the way it was supposed to be done. Every other family I spoke with said their child would not be as advanced as they were if it were not for Bob Doman and NACD. It sounded too good to be true. More checking and after numerous confirmations and affirmations we made an appointment to meet with Bob Doman at his nearest branch office St. Louis FOUR HOURS AWAY! It seemed like half a world away at the time! Even as we drove over from Indianapolis, I kept asking the Lord to detain us if this was not what He had for our Philip. A flat tire. Get us lost and miss the appointment. Nothing was too hard for Him if this was the wrong thing. I am glad to report we made it to the appointment and after the evaluation, training, and tears from me, we began our adventure with NACD.

Our scriptural promise we have held on to is from James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” The King James version says this prayer “Avails much.” And we are seeing much!!!

After four months on the program he made more progress than he had in five years! We crawled, skipped, flashed cards, squeezed and squatted our way to fabulous results.

In all our efforts to identify what was “wrong” we never were comfortable with a diagnosis. But we can say his symptoms his disconnected interest in the world around him, his hypertactile skin responses, his emotionality, his inability to make verbal sounds that were meaningful and our inability to get him to understand what we were saying all which once were a source of immense frustration are now, all GONE! They are only memories captured on video tape. Philip doesn’t even remember how he was before program!

After two years of program and on one of our visits to St. Louis to see Bob Doman, we saw a young man in the hotel pool that reminded us of the way Philip had once been. The extreme gesticulations to fill in for words unable to be expressed, the underdeveloped muscle tone, shoes on the wrong feet and the far away look in the young 11 year old boy’s eyes almost brought me to tears. This child hadn’t been given the chance Philip had. The father was amazed I could communicate with his son. I told him my son once spoke the same language. The man couldn’t believe me as he watched Philip play in the pool water. But it was true, after only two years he was understandable most the time by anybody and could understand everyone. He was growing strong and had an incredible amount of opportunities before him.

Now at the end of four years, Philip, by God’s grace shown through Bob Doman and the “program,” is a normal nine year old boy who eats anything, smells correctly, hears what we all hear, speaks as he should, is working academically at and above his grade level, is functioning socially in appropriate ways, knows the Lord as his own personal Savior, laughs and fully enjoys his family, his friends and his precious life. He is a treasure to behold, a miracle and a blessing!

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 10 No. 17, 1996 ©NACD