For the 25 years before publication a form of therapy known as the ‘Doman-Delacato Techniques’ had been applied to children with disabilities. The therapy originated from the work of Glen Doman and Carl Delacato who established the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia. The institutes claim to be able to treat a wide range of disabilities, and their best known technique is called ‘Patterning’ and is prescribed for children who have no capacity for voluntary movement. Yet many professional bodies and associations have denounced the approach as overly-expensive, ineffective, creating false hopes, being destructive to family life and based on false theoretical assumptions.
Originally published in 1988, this book was the first to offer a detailed analysis and critique of the Doman-Delacato approach. The author draws on data from evolution, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology to challenge its theoretical assumptions. He shows that there is no sound scientific basis to the techniques. Any improvements in a child's condition can be attributed to the increased energy and attention given to that child, rather than the content of the programme. At the same time parents become emotionally ransomed and deluded by false expectations. Written in a style that will be accessible to non-specialists, the book is an important work for both parents and professionals concerned with the welfare of neurologically-impaired children.