Failure To Thrive
(FTT) in children is a label which identifies that a child is not moving through developmental steps appropriately. So, there is little or no maturation emotionally, physically, socially, behaviorally, or intellectually. There are varying versions of this label.
Some with FTT are 3, 4, or 5 years old and are still babies. Some children with FTT are physically growing and playing, but maybe they are not walking or talking by 5 or 6. Some children with FTT are talking and walking at 7 or 8 but not yet mature enough to be able to start the first grade in school.
Failure To Thrive is one of many diagnoses or labels of developmental issues. For most of these developmental issues, the psychological professional communities have all acknowledged that there is no cure.
Why Is There No Cure?
Mostly, there is no cure because the researchers who analyze their conditions and the clinicians who work with these children do not know why the developmental process got interrupted or became sluggish. And, because they do not know about what moves the developmental process and what might interfere with that process, they only have the scope of recognizing, categorizing, or treating symptoms.
Research Funds Are Being Disbursed
A while back I visited a graduate psychology program at a major university. I talked with the graduate program director about their understanding of developmental issues. He talked with me about one of his recent research projects. He had received a grant to research the precise difference between the symptoms and conditions of Aspergers Syndrome and the High Functioning Autistic. He was working to make the diagnosis of these two conditions more clear.
I thought that was curious, because funds was being spent on making the diagnostic process more effective, but there was no effective treatment for either condition. I could understand providing funds to develop more effective diagnostic definitions for something where that difference in diagnosis would lead to people receiving the correct treatment for their condition. Clearly, there is funding available for investigations in developmental issues, but it seems to be focused on minor applications.
There Seems To Be Little Hope That A Cure Will Ever Be Found
We see signs of this in many ways. There is a movement called Neurodiversity. In this movement, people have given up hope of a cure for developmental issues and have started looking at these issues as a new angle in human evolution. They see developmental issues as the next advancement in our evolution as a species. They resist the idea of a cure and reject to have their children or themselves considered for treatment, because they think that everything is all right.
In our protocols we do not treat any of the symptoms, but we track when symptoms are reducing. One common symptom for severe developmental issues is the inability to maintain eye-contact. In our practice, this is one of the symptoms which fades away early in the protocols we manage.
I recently talked with the Director of an ABA center to find out the technical name of this symptom of not having eye contact so that in my writing I could use the precise technical name. I didn't receive the technical name I was looking for, because I was so startled by the answer from the Director. He told me they no longer work to have their clients make and maintain eye contact, because they would never need to. They were obviously preparing their clients to be adults with severe developmental issues. They were not proceeding in any way to help their clients overcome their problems. They do not have any hope that there is a cure, or seemingly they think, that there will be a cure.
What We Believe Is Occurring In Children With Developmental Problems
Developmental issues represent a problem in the developmental process. The symptoms (including the behaviors) of children with developmental issues are only symptoms. These symptoms are not the problem.
Treatment protocols should focus on what interrupted or caused the sluggishness of the developmental process. Reactivating the developmental process should be the essential outcome. If the developmental process gets restarted, the child "matures out of" the symptoms.
When the developmental process is stuck or interrupted or sluggish, there are certain brain circuits which are not permitted to develop naturally. After the obstructions are removed, there is a physical exercise program which must be performed so that these circuits can develop appropriately. These circuits manage the developmental process. As these circuits are rebuilt, the developmental process moves forward.
The reason that there is no cure for developmental issues is a paradigm issue. Developmental issues are not medical or psychological, yet we continue to treat them as if they were medical or psychological. I think the best explanation is that they are a cultural difficulty. Our cultural evolution has taken us away from the environment in which we evolved as a species. These sensitive children are reacting to factors in this new cultural environment. But the medical or psychological fields are stuck in their paradigms and are not yet able to recognize that their approach does not work for solving these issues.
Everybody Is Focusing Their Attention In The Wrong Direction
Everyone is looking outside the child for the causes (mercury, vaccinations, etc. .). By looking outside the child, they are missing the critical issues.
The most recent reports from research institutions is saying that developmental issues are a result of a genetic susceptibility and its interaction with environmental factors. The genetic susceptibility of these children is that they are hypersensitive and because of this hypersensitivity they are reacting to some things in their environment. This reaction shuts down their developmental process. Research needs to look into that susceptibility, that interaction, and those responses.
Now, many parents are focusing their attention on those possible environmental factors which seems to start the problem. Mercury and vaccinations are some of the current targets. I'm confident that many children are being impacted by these kinds of substances. But, these factors in the environment are not the “cause” of the developmental issues. The cause is the response that these sensitive children have to these factors. It is important for all of us to understand that these hypersensitive children can have a similar response to wheat, corn, milk, chocolate, laundry detergent or thousands of other environmental factors.
If we focus all of our attention on those multiple offending factors in our environment, we will get lost in an labyrinth which does not lead to a cure. If we focus on the thousands of things to which these hypersensitive children are reacting, we will spend all our attention, focus, and money on legislating all those things. If we do this, we will not have the resources to work on the real issue.
What Should We Be Focusing On?
We need to focus on the sensitivities and the reactions which these hypersensitive children naturally have to the things to which they react. There are treatments that can be taught which temporarily neutralize the sensitivity to a specific thing for a specific exposure for a specific child. This temporary treatment can be done to stop the immediate response. Then a precise plan of action can be established for the child. This program needs to identify all of the factors to which this specific child is hypersensitive and eliminate those things from the child's environment. With this kind of approach, the child will stop having responses and the child's developmental maturation will proceed without interruption.
This is what we do in our practice with Failure To Thrive
children. The program we have developed is certainly not a cure. It does work to re-engage the developmental process for a specific child and encourages that process to catch-up. To be successful, it requires active participation by the client and client's family. When they actively follow the program, the child consistently gets back on track.