From time to time, we have a child who comes to our Center who has not received a formal diagnosis. The condition is often labeled “undiagnosed developmental delays” or “Undiagnosed Developmental Disorder.”
“It is difficult to know how many of these children do not have a diagnosis. Problems with identifying and diagnosing very rare conditions, misdiagnosis and late diagnosis have added to the difficulties of knowing how many children come into this category.
Attempts have been made to estimate numbers but lack of research has made it impossible to be accurate about figures.”
Today’s parents are well aware of the concept of developmental stages, or what are often called developmental milestones. There are many books, online websites, and medical practitioners that inform parents about these milestones.
However, the variability in the time frame of development is quite wide. Most children do not necessarily go through each and every one of the known developmental milestones.
When a child has not achieved a milestone within the expected age range, we need to ask the question: Is there a cause for concern?
In our experience, if there is an actual underlying problem that is causing a delay in the child reaching a specific milestone, the parents usually observe other unusual or worrisome qualities in the child. For example, they may observe excessive tightness in the muscles, weakness and low tone, or a total lack of interest in the surrounding environment.
Parents are often not only distressed that their child has developmental delays but also because they would like to find out what is wrong. That desire is understandable in what is the cause of the disruption in development could be useful for the intervention. It can also be useful in terms of receiving services.
As much as it can be stressful for the parents not to have a diagnosis, what we have observed over the years, is that with the Anat Baniel Method® and NeuroMovement®, we can help wake up their child’s brain and help their child become a more effective and powerful learner, irrespective of a diagnosis. In other words, the lack of diagnosis need not stop us from helping their child develop more fully.
The Story of Julian
I remember vividly the first child who came to me who had “undiagnosed developmental delays.” His name was Julian. He was 8 years old. He could walk; however, his posture was very poor. He had limited language and he stuttered when he spoke.
For me, what was most prominent was the degree to which Julian seemed unaware of his environment and of himself. When I began moving him, every joint in his body barely moved and felt like it was inside wet cement. I noticed how little differentiation he had in his movement, which meant how little differentiation he had in his brain. (See the blog post with Jill Bolte Taylor, and you will understand that ever increased differentiation in the brain is essential for a child to master more and more skills.)
Knowing this, in the very first session, I put Julian on his stomach and very gently worked on his back, spine, rib cage, and pelvis to reduce the stiffness in his joints and to increase the differentiation of the movement of his torso…and it worked!
Two days later, when Julian was brought for his second lesson, his father told me that for the very first time, Julian was able to stand on the horse when the horse was being walked by his therapist. This was something they had been trying to teach him to do for a very long time.
Over time, Julian learned to read, write, ride a bicycle, and engage in social activities; and he even learned to read his Tora section in Hebrew for his Bar Mitzvah.
Julian never got a medical diagnosis, but he certainly got better.
NeuroMovement® and Undiagnosed Developmental Delays
The Anat Baniel Method® and NeuroMovement® work with each child’s individual needs and unique configuration. With this method, we don’t attempt to have all children be the same. Instead, we meet the child where s/he is, and help her/his brain to wake up and become more potent in its ability to differentiate, create new connections, and integrate into higher-level solutions.
We don’t need a diagnosis to be able to interact with children in ways that wake up their brains and that almost always facilitate growth and progress in the acquisition of the missed developmental milestones.
It’s Important to Evaluate the Risk
What is at greater risk? Waiting until there might be very clear evidence that there is a problem or not?
Compare this to the risk of taking your child to an ABM NeuroMovement Practitioner who can evaluate your child but perhaps more importantly, move your child to the next level of development if there is some kind of interference.
Rather than focusing on the age of your child, and decide based upon that whether your child needs help or not, the Practitioner can look at the way your child is moving and acting to be able to determine whether your child’s brain is developing as it should.
NOTE: We believe that it is of the greatest importance that whomever you decide to take your child to, in order to be evaluated, this person should have a very positive attitude and a profound understanding of the actual process of development—that is, the underlying neurological processes that are the basis of any transition from one milestone to another.