The Rawson family live in Adelaide and attended The Institutes course in Melbourne in June 2013, to help their son Benji – who was born with Down syndrome.
*It is important to know that – although Down syndrome is not regarded as a ‘brain injury’ – it does result in neurological impairment and as such, children with Down syndrome do respond very positively to programs which address injuries in the brain.
1. How did you feel when you were told of your child’s brain injury and prognosis?
When I think back to the initial reaction to the diagnosis of Down syndrome for our son Benji very soon after birth, shock comes to mind, along with worry for the medical issues that are expected to go along with Down syndrome.
2. What treatments / service providers did you initially look to?
Benji spent the first 10 days of life in the NICU, we would spend all day there and then come home around 11pm to sleep in our own bed. Although instead we would spend countless hours on google and expressing breast milk. We were confident that there would be guidance out there, people that have done this all before and that is exactly what we found. Finding Kristen Morrison’s blog has no doubt been instrumental in our son’s overall well-being. We started by taking flaxseed oil into hospital for regular massages and we begun stimulating his senses.
We visited our local EI centre but found it was more of a coffee and cake kind of ordeal. And we had already read at that point about the importance of diet in a brain injured child, so as a breastfeeding mother, the cake was out! I formed great friendships that helped me feel like we weren’t alone but their idea of ‘intervention’ of my son’s so called disability was just not right for us, we craved more, more information and more for our son.
3. Did you notice any changes attributable to your treatment?
Early on our son became very alert, wide eyed and interested. We were massaging him, stimulating his vision in a dark room with a torch, lying him on his stomach to sleep, giving him tummy time on the floor at every waking moment, and then a few weeks later putting him in an inclined crawling track. All of these things were IAHP inspired from the Doman books, and we were confident what we were doing was working, so kept it up.
4. What motivated you to look for alternative treatments and find IAHP?
So we knew about IAHP early on through Kristen, my husband called them and contemplated travelling to Singapore for the course. As a breastfeeding mum I knew that the course wasn’t an option for me this early on and we decided to postpone it, then when Kristen let us know that Grow Foundation was bringing the course to Melbourne we were thrilled that we would have this opportunity to sit the course together and only interstate, not overseas. To be totally honest when my husband first spoke to IAHP he was a little bit unsure of travelling overseas to do the course and what this would entail, they picked up on his vibe and kind of brushed him off and we thought oh well we will leave it for a while. They totally knew that we would be calling back! They knew that when we were ready we would get back in contact and they were spot on. There was no need for spinning salesman like lines, we were either in or out, and aren’t we glad we soon after decided to be in once we were mentally ready!
5. How did you feel when they demystified the world of brain injury for you?
The explanation the IAHP course gives on brain injury is like no other, it is scientific and understandable to any parent at the same time. We felt 100% confident that IAHP knows that everything will be okay for our son and that they can help us to help him reach his maximum potential.
6. As you first worked out what commitment to the program you would need to make, how did you feel?
We were so excited to get home and start. We had known about the program since the first few weeks of life and it wasn’t until 15 months of age that we put together a more structured program with the help of the IAHP staff, rather than being guided by the Doman books themselves. It’s pretty simple really and it doesn’t just apply to a brain injured child, it could be for your typical child or the business you run. The more you put in the bigger rewards you will get. The more my husband and I work in our business the better the profits will be, the more time we spend one on one with our son, the higher potential he will reach. Benji will always learn best from us, parents are the best therapists. Spending every waking moment doing a program with your brain injured child is the most rewarding thing, and as a first time mum I really don’t know any different. With everything we do I automatically have the IAHP’s philosophies on development ingrained into my mind, so I can incorporate therapy into everyday tasks. I used to think about how nice it would be to go out for a big walk with Benji in the pram, IAHP made me realise that although this is a common thing to do, what does it do for a child’s physical development? I think the pram I bought cost almost as much as the WTD course, if I had my time again there would have never been a pram!
7. As things progressed did it feel easier to live the program as results started showing?
The program definitely gets more achievable as your child becomes stronger and more able to complete the tasks and as we as parents become confident and familiar with what needs to be done. It is amazing to see a program set and it being a challenge and then a few weeks later you think back to how well he did it then and compare to how amazing he is doing it now, it is astounding. And these results and changes in your child are a massive encouragement to keep on going. We know that we are setting the groundwork for the future of our son, yes there are still some tough days, like when Benji has new teeth coming in, but we just do what we can on those days, and make sure we get back to where we need to be as soon as we can. There is no point on worrying about what you don’t do, every day is a new day and has the potential to be your best day of programming yet.
8. Did you believe that these results were possible?
Yes we had no doubt after seeing You Tube videos and reading success stories of other children that results were not just possible but were totally achievable.
9. Do you now think that some of the physical aides people try and sell could have provided the same result?
I don’t think there is anyone else or organisation out there that will tell you that you need to program your child every possible minute of the day. Therefor I don’t believe that anything else out there could achieve what I know we will achieve on the IAHP Intensive Treatment Program.
10. Would you do it all again if another brain injured child was put into your care?
Most definitely, with absolutely no hesitance that we may have shown slightly the first time round.
11. What would you say to a parent who might be considering attending the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course? Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experiences as a ‘programming’ parent, working with your own child?
This program along with love and nurture is in my opinion the best thing any parent can do for their brain injured child. Attending the IAHP WTD course is the single most important thing we have done for Benji besides give him all the love we have in our hearts to give.
Take this opportunity while it is right there on your door step. It is a small price to pay to get your own idea of what IAHP is all about. Don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself, make up your own mind if it is right for your family, but only after you have attended the course.
For more information about the ‘What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child’ Course, visit www.iahp.org.au