Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

Finding Your Way Around

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Life & Work of Dr. Stanley Greenspan

Autism & DD Pioneer
Speaking from the points of view of a sibling who once was part of her sister's caregiving family-team, current guardian, nurse, and former developmental therapist, I fully endorse the basic maxim that learning must wait on maturation. What this means is that a person cannot learn something until his/her brain-neuro-muscular system is sufficiently mature to support the learning. With developmental disabilities, the challenge is: how best to support the brain-neuro-muscular maturation. And, as anyone interested enough to be reading this blog already knows, no two individuals are alike, so the approach to each must be responsive to the cues and clues provided by the person receiving the work.

Here is an excellent article honoring the life and work of Dr. Stanley Greenspan who, the article recognizes, made significant contributions to developmental work with children who have autism. I would recommend it to caregivers and family members of people with other developmental disabilities, too.

From my 61 year-old sister, Kathy's experience, I know that the article's use of the word , "children" should be generalized to "people" and the word "autism" should be generalized to include other forms of developmental disabilities.

Much of the article's description of Dr. Greenspan's methods also can be said of the Feldenkrais treatment (another approach to developmental, neuro-muscular/cognitive work) that my sister receives: Her diagnoses include cerebral palsy, cognitive delay level: 2-3years old & epilepsy. Even at her advanced age, her progress with this work has been consistent to that described in this article pertaining to children with autism. Credit must also be given to the reinforcement by her caregivers in the ICF/MR-NF where she lives and to the sensitive work of one physical therapist, in particular, who, early on in her work with Kathy, commented that she almost always sees cognitive & verbal progress in children when they are finally able to walk. It made sense to her that Kathy as an adult would be having a similar response.

Dr. Stanley Greenspan Dies,
Founder of Floortime & Developmental Approaches
To Autism Therapy

Source: AMDC Autism Examiner by Mike Frandsen April 28, 4:02

"Dr. Stanley Greenspan had a profound impact on developmental approaches to autism therapy.
At last November’s annual Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders conference in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Stanley Greenspan was walking and talking a little bit slower than he had in previous years. The reverence and respect that the audience had for Greenspan was palpable, and at the end of his speech, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. The people in the audience knew they were witnessing something special. 

Greenspan, the founder of Floortime and the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-based model (DIR) for autism, died yesterday. 

Greenspan established the ICDL in Bethesda to advance the identification, prevention, and treatment of developmental and learning disorders. A message on ICDL’s website calls Greenspan, “the world's foremost authority on clinical work with infants and young children with developmental and emotional problems. His work continues to guide parents, professionals and researchers all over the world.”

 To read the full article, click on the title of this post. Readers comments beneath the article are also compelling.