8 Fundamentals of the Doman Method

When my grandfather Glenn Doman established his first rehabilitation center in 1955, I don’t think he had any idea that an entire method of treating children with special needs would be named after him. However, as a young physical therapist, he created a paradigm shift in the treatment of these children — one that is still in use by thousands of parents and families today. His impact was so great that parents, who adored his contribution to the field, named his discoveries and work “The Doman Method”.

Glenn Doman lecturing to parents of children with speical needs.

Glenn Doman lecturing to parents of children with speical needs.

Many people ask, “What is the Doman Method?” The Doman Method is a system of home-based programs carried out by families to help children with special needs develop. There are various important elements about the Doman Method which make it different from many mainstream therapies for children with special needs:

1. It is home-based

Instead of requiring daily or weekly trips to a therapist, the Doman Method is carried out at home. Families come to Doman International to get the knowledge and tools they need to do the programs at home, then go home to carry out the program, with remote support from Doman International’s staff. Many parents return every six months to have their children re-assessed by Doman International’s team, and to have a therapeutic program designed for their child.

2. It is integrative

The Doman Method is no single activity or program, it is an integrative system of programs. It involves physical programs to develop mobility and manual competence, intellectual programs to enhance cognitive function and speech, and physiological program to address nutrition, respiration, sleep, and other important areas of the body’s function. It is only when all three of these areas (physiological, physical and intellectual) are addressed that a child can move on a pathway toward wellness.

3. It is holistic

The Doman Method is about natural, safe treatments that can help a child grow in a holistic way. No strong medications with dangerous side effects are prescribed. “Do no harm” is a mantra for the Doman International team.

Learning the Doman Method can help any child succeed in reaching their full potential.

Learning the Doman Method can help any child succeed in reaching their full potential.

4. It is parent-empowering

One important philosophy of Glenn Doman’s teachings, which Doman International carries on today, is that parents and families make the best team of therapists a child can have. Empowering parents with knowledge and tools to help their children puts them in the driver’s seat for their child’s recovery.

5. It sets high goals

The goal for every child is complete wellness. Glenn Doman set this incredibly difficult goal, because any less of a goal limits a child’s potential. The Doman International team does not believe in self-limiting beliefs. We set the bar high to get the best possible results for each and every child.

6. It is intense

One of the most common attacks on the Doman Method is that it is intense — this is true. However, in the world of children with special needs, intensity is needed to help the child improve quickly and to achieve the best results. The intensity is designed to maximize the child’s development and progress. However, parents can attend the course, The Doman Method: From Special Needs to Wellness” and decide to proceed at an intensity of their choosing — each family is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone. Parents can come to learn, then proceed at a speed that is comfortable for them.

7. It’s flexible

Doman International focuses on a single goal — achieving the best possible results for children. The Doman Method continues changing and evolving with time. As new, more successful treatments to help children are found, they are added to the method, and others are retired. The problem with the word “method” is that it indicates a lack of change. Perhaps the “Doman Evolution” would be a better choice of words!

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8. It’s historic…and brand new:

Glenn Doman began his work in 1955, but his children and grandchildren continue his work. Five members of his family continue to carry the Doman Method forward at Doman International.

As I wrote above, there is no way my grandfather would have known more than sixty years ago that he was going to start a movement that would carry on his name. Now, hundreds of thousands of families later, the Doman Method has left a lasting impact on humanity. As the Doman Method evolves and grows with the Doman International team, we can only wonder what it will be six decades from now.