Pervasive Developmental Delays

At Down To Earth, we make it very clear that we do not try to CURE developmental delays such as autism, but rather, we try to minimize the gap between a child’s chronological age and his abilities by teaching at a rate the child and the parents can tolerate. Much of what is done is educational, with the parents. We work to teach you about your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to know the strengths so that you can build on them and help your child be successful. However, you also need a realistic view of the weaknesses so that you don’t push too hard and frustrate both the child and yourself.

Disorders of attachment are particularly tricky. They seem to be caused largely by gross parental negligence or abuse and they have long-lasting, difficult-to-treat effects. Usually the main problem is that abusive and neglectful parents rarely bring their kids in for treatment. However, sometimes people who really didn’t mean any harm did things that were abusive or neglectful and they later realize the error of their ways and seek treatment. What is more typical is that the abusive/neglectful parents have a great deal of trouble with these kids as they grow up and they seek treatment totally convinced that there is something very wrong with the child, but certainly not with the way they raised the child. Foster and adoptive parents sometimes end up with children who have serious attachment problems and they bring the kids in for treatment. We work together with caring parents to minimize the effects of early abuse or neglect, but often residual problems remain well into adulthood. Our advice: start treatment as early as possible.

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