What is the Doman Method?

When parents of children with special needs search for answers to help their children, they often hear about “The Doman Method” and Doman International’s work, and its approach to helping children with special needs. However, it is sometimes unclear to parents what the Doman Method is and how it works.

First, to understand the Doman Method, one must understand its history and how it started. It began in 1955, when Glenn Doman, a young physical therapist, created his first rehabilitation center in Philadelphia. Working with Dr. Temple Fay, the chief neurosurgeon at Temple University Hospital, Glenn began to develop his own treatment programs to help adults who had suffered strokes. Strokes create brain damage, and Glenn found that the physical therapies he learned in school were not helping his adult patients improve. He found that the reason why these therapies were not working to help the patients was that the treatments were focused on the symptoms, rather than the actual problem, which was in the brain. He realized that traditional physical and speech therapies were only symptom-focused but yielded poor results, as they were not actually fixing the source of the problem.

So, with Dr. Fay, Glenn created his own treatment programs for his patients that directly treated the brain rather than the symptoms. These patients progressed far faster and better than he had ever previously hoped. It was clear he and his team were on the right track. This was how the Doman Method started.

Glenn expanded his work to help children with special needs, as they had neurological conditions themselves. While children might have been given diagnoses of autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, Trisomy 21 and other genetic abnormalities, epilepsy, learning difficulties, speech apraxia, and a host of other diagnoses — Glenn found that these children had a neurological condition, and that if their brain development could be enhanced, their function also improved. For many of these children, Glenn learned that society tended to “label and limit” these children — that a diagnosis was given, but that no hope was given with it. He did not ascribe to this way of thinking.

While he achieved great results with the children he saw, he found that it was when the families of the children carried out the treatment at home that they achieved the very best results. Glenn began to teach families the fundamentals of brain growth and development, and how to carry out the treatment programs at home. Moving from a therapist-based model to a family-based treatment model was a paradigm shift in the field of treatment. This was perhaps the greatest single evolution in the Doman Method's history, which carries on today.

Team in India

The Doman Method expanded as new treatments were discovered and incorporated. The method is not a single treatment or activity; it is a holistic system of treatments that incorporates physiological, nutritional, physical, sensory, and cognitive treatments. For this reason, a team of expert staff in these different areas is needed to teach these treatments to families. At Doman International, a team of teachers instruct parents how to do the integrative treatment programs at home, which helps their children reach their fullest potential.

So, to answer the original question: “What is the Doman Method?”

The Doman Method is a system of home-based treatments designed to help children with special needs develop and progress in every area of function, with the ultimate goal of wellness.

At Doman International, parents learn how to carry out the Doman Method at home to help their children reach their fullest potential. It all starts with “The Doman Method: From Special Needs to Wellness”, a parent training seminar that Doman International delivers. For many parents who attend this course, they continue to return to Doman International for their children to be evaluated, and to be prescribed a home program for their child.

Today, the Doman family continues to carry forth the discoveries and teachings of Glenn Doman and works to make his dream a reality — to help all the children worldwide reach their fullest potential. At Doman International, five members of the Doman family continue to teach the Doman Method to families all around the world. Douglas Doman, Glenn’s son, serves at the Director of Doman International. His wife, Rosalind Doman, is the Clinical Director. Glenn’s granddaughter, Morgan, is the Chief Operations Officer. I am Glenn’s grandson, and serve as Doman International’s Chief Innovation officer. My wife, Melissa, is the Director of the Physical Development department.

The Doman Method continues to evolve. As new treatments are discovered that can help children they are added to the method. Because it is an ever-evolving method, it continues to improve over time and continues to deliver better and better results. This means the future of Doman Method should prove as exciting, and as successful, as it has in the past.