When Glenn founded The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in 1955, he was a young physical therapist who, as an infantryman, had led his men through World War II. He had seen men destroyed on the battlefield and set about to save people. At this point, Glenn had begun to formulate the groundbreaking concept that brain injury is in the brain-not the arm, leg, or foot-and that brain growth and development is dynamic and ever-changing, a concept broadly accepted today as neuroplasticity.
Sitting on his mother's lap, Glenn learned to read before he went to school. His philosophy of learning was shaped by love and nurturing, and he always remembered that mothers were the key to the future.
Glenn said that, aside from his parents, the Boy Scouts were the greatest influence on him as a boy. "Primarily it taught me ethics," he said. He embraced the Boy Scout motto, which in addition to duty to God and country, includes helping other people at all times.
The other great influence on him was the war, and like the Scouts, he explained, it taught him "comradeship, decency, and respect for your fellow man."
When Glenn founded The Institutes, it was with awe and respect for adults who were paralyzed by strokes. "I found that given the opportunity they were courageous people, to be admired."
The same was true of brain-injured children and their families, he learned. Glenn's discoveries about how the brain develops allowed parents to keep their children at home and give them the opportunity to be well.
Glenn loved nothing more than being with children, who flocked to him and his Santa Claus demeanor. The comparison was made with merit, not only for his appearance but also for his warmth, generosity, and joviality.
In his early years, Glenn's mentor was Dr. Temple Fay, who taught him to look beyond the obvious and to question traditional concepts. Dr. Fay admired the brain as a work of art, and Glenn was his best student.
Glenn and his staff traveled the globe to study how children grow and develop. The result was The Institutes Developmental Profile, the first and only document that shows the stages of brain development and provides a functional diagnosis. Once an accurate Profile is made, that Profile provides a road map to create an effective program to treat the brain.
The concept of neurological organization followed, and programs were carefully developed to provide enhanced sensory stimulation and increase motor opportunity in recognition of the orderly way in which the brain grows.
By the early '60s, Glenn had hundreds of two-, three-, and four-year-old hurt kids who were reading and comprehending what they read well beyond their age. This led Glenn to ask, "Why aren't well kids as well as they ought to be?" A new chapter opened as Glenn realized that well kids were not getting the stimulation and opportunity they needed to achieve their full potential.
Glenn believed that parents were the answer to the world's problems and that children could learn absolutely anything that could be taught in an honest, factual, and joyous way.
He believed that mothers and fathers and children belonged together.
Once, many years ago, someone who did not agree with Glenn's ideas about early learning said of him, "All Glenn Doman is doing is driving mothers and babies closer together."
Well, it is not all that Glenn did in his long and highly productive life, but he often said, "Put that on my tombstone, make that my epitaph: He drove mothers and babies closer together, and I will rest well."
Millions of parents around the world have been influenced by the work of this great man. The world is a better place because of his life. His devoted staff will miss him deeply every minute of every day, but, like Glenn, they will never give up. They will continue to fight the good fight to ensure that hurt children have a fighting change to be well and well kids have a fighting change to be better.