Derek Clark is an inspiring early childhood development keynote speaker. The first five years of his life were horrific as he suffered extreme child abuse and abandonment. When he was abandoned at an emergency psychiatric facility at five years old, the professionals conducted many tests on him and discovered that Derek had the IQ of a two year old and a vocabulary of approximately sixty words (average vocabulary for a six year old is 2700 words). These words were mainly cuss words, nasty phrases and violent words.
Here are just a few excerpts from Derek Clark’s (age 6) Psychiatric, Neurological and Speech Evaluation Reports:
Derek’s father was an alcoholic.
He has a history of temper tantrums, enuresis and encopresis.
Head banging was prevalent during his five years and bed-wetting.
Suggested to be overtly psychotic
Violent / aggressive
On the WISC, Derek has a significant discrepancy between his verbal and performance scales. Derek’s verbal scale indicated below average general knowledge, logical thinking and language development.
Throughout the testing, Derek maintained a rather tenuous reality orientation. Before the testing even began, Derek told the Examiner that he had “bionic powers,” and that he wanted to be on T.V. with the “bionic man.” At times, Derek seemed unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy.
During the CAT Testing, he physically covered the lion on Card 3 so that the lion would not see the mouse. Derek’s reality contact fluctuated among the tasks. His contact was best during the structured tasks such as PC, PA, PA, OA and the CAT. It was 1 1⁄2 times worse during the DAP and the Rorschach Test, which are unstructured tasks. However, Derek gave some bizarre responses during the vocabulary test which indicated that he was not staying with the situation. For instance, for “Spade,” he said, “It’s a spade that goes skateboarding.” Most of the time, Derek’s percepts were either global or fragmented.
His Rorschach Test responses were global while his CAT and MAPS Tests were highly fragmented.
The numerous incidents of bizarre and fragmented thoughts make it difficult to discern his developmental level. One interesting note is that Derek has no ability to reverse thinking processes.
Derek’s verbal concept formation is very weak.
Derek exhibited much fantasy and delusional behavior. He also made noises that were sometimes animals and at other times were unintelligible. He appears to use his imagination as both a defense against anxiety and as a method of wish fulfillment.
Derek’s approach to learning is a global one. He does not pursue one aspect and then another in an analytical method. He makes use of both imitation and trial and error. Even OA, his method of attack was a kind of random trial and error. He uses imitation to the extent that he could draw things that the Examiner drew first. However on BD Testing, Derek could barely copy the Examiner’s demonstrations. For a six year-old, most of Derek’ s approaches are inadequate and immature. This is more appropriate for children aged 2 to 4 years old. Derek’s DAP Test also reflects this. By six, most children are drawing whole figures. Derek could only draw a face and a sparse one at that.
His major weaknesses lay in verbal concept formation and language development. However, all of Derek’s learning processes are interfered with by personality factors. He is highly anxious and is hyperactive as a result. He loses contact with reality frequently and perseverates, fantasizes and makes bizarre comments. This can happen without warning and in the middle of a task. The anxiety also manifests itself in sudden poor visual perception and in poor visual-motor coordination.
The source of Derek’s emotional disturbance lies within his first year of life. Even prenatally, Derek was in trouble because of the Rh factor. Then, labor had to be induced, and the baby was a forceps delivery. Also, sometime that first year, Derek was anemic and was abused by one or both parents. Therefore, the nature of his conflicts is a failure to develop any positive relationship with his mother, father or with the world. As a side effect, Derek probably was never allowed to fulfill his oral needs; at least, never in a positive, gratifying manner.
Watch early childhood development keynote speaker Derek Clark as he shares who helped him when his own parents had abandoned him.
The failure to allow Derek the chance of a positive relationship with reality resulted in two things. First, he started to view the world as hostile and dangerous. Second, his helplessness in the situation caused frustration and anxiety which probably led him to withdraw. However, Derek was dependent on the environment for survival and therefore had to maintain some reality contact. This would explain Derek’s severe anxiety which permeates his behavior.
In order to deal with his anxiety and growing hostility to his parents, Derek developed several defense mechanisms. He retreated into fantasy. He became hyperactive, because the anxiety was so overwhelming. Derek’s poor relationship with his mother and his poor reality contact make new situations, such as school, threatening and anxiety provoking.
When Derek expresses his impulses, it is usually in terms of oral aggression, aggression in general, death or sex. All of these provoke anxiety, but the aggression provokes more anxiety than any other impulse. When he expresses an impulse fully, it is usually blunt, brief and uncensored.
For example, on Card 4 of the CAT Test, Derek plainly said that the child was going to run over his mother and kill her. This type of response triggered severe anxiety. This blunt type of response was infrequent, because Derek generally blocks his impulses and instead gives a confused and bizarre response. Derek’s controls are weak and frequently give way to impulse expressions in mild or severe forms. In general, Derek’s hostilities are directed toward adult authority figures and seem to be expressed more toward his mother than to his father. The impulses themselves stem from Derek’s earliest phase of development.
Derek’s Super-ego largely controls Derek’s impulses. Because of the severe anxiety that Derek’s highly punitive Super-ego metes out, Derek has a rather diffuse conscious sense of badness and worthlessness. He has internalized the idea that most of his behavior is bad and must be punished if expressed. This would be the result of early abuse and neglect. As a result, Derek developed a strict Super-ego that generally tries to prevent him from impulse expression. When Derek’s impulses break through, he is punished and feels worthless. Derek’s view of punishment is severe and physical, as indicated by his CAT and MAP tests. Derek’s self-ideal is probably that of an omnipotent authority figure who can do anything he wants. This notion comes from Derek’s fantasies of “bionic” power and his identification with superheroes.
Derek doesn’t appear to be experiencing guilt for his actions. Guilt develops during the analytical phase when the child is made to feel bad, because he hasn’t accomplished what his parents asked, and he wants to please them.
It is suspected that Derek never got that far in development. By the time he was a year old, Derek had probably pretty much withdrawn from reality.
Derek seems unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Derek’s hostility towards his parents and especially towards his mother caused overwhelming anxiety, which Derek handled by hyperactive and regressive behavior.
School placement should be carefully selected. The child needs a program where he would receive emotional support, individual help, gross and fine motor training and language therapy. This may be available through an “educationally handicapped program.”
***NOW FAST FORWARD MANY YEARS!!!***
Derek was able to overcome all of his difficulties with the help of loving foster parents who were both teachers. They never saw weakness within Derek, they saw greatness. They worked on his strengths and invested in him.
Now Derek is a popular motivational speaker, author of eight books, viral video sensation known as the Rapping Dad with millions of views, was the founder and CEO of a multi million dollar corporation, father of four children and married to the love of his life for over twenty two years.
Never give up or limit the potential of a child! Disable the label and continue to plant seeds of success in the heart and mind of a child.
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