What traumatized children can teach us about loss, love, and healing.
What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child's mind---and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parents' murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation. Dr. Perry clearly explains what happens to the brain when children are exposed to extreme stress. He reveals his innovative methods for helping to ease their pain, allowing them to become healthy adults. This deeply informed and moving book dramatically demonstrates that only when we understand the science of the mind can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.
©2007 Bruce Duncan Perry and Maia Szalavitz (P)2011 Tantor
"Readable, informative about the workings of language, memory, trust, and choice, and ultimately optimistic---while critical of a society that exudes violence and ignores prevention---this book demands and deserves attention from parents, educators, policymakers, courts, and therapists. Highly recommended." (Library Journal Starred Review)
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
I enjoyed this book immensely. I spent nearly 20 years working for Child Protective Services and saw so many children who appeared to be beyond help. I am talking about the seriously disturbed children who reside in group homes, as they can not be safely maintained in foster care. I have also done alot of reading about the problems adopted children with unknown backgrounds present. Bruce Perry's case histories and his brain development theories certainly offer hope that there may be a way of helping these children function in the real world.
Each child he wrote about was at the extreme end of the spectrum of neglect/abuse and with most of these, he did make progress. He clearly explained how the abuse or neglect affected the brain and the techniques that might be used to treat the "brain deficiencies" and therefore, the children themselves.
Perry treats and writes about a variety of children that have suffered circumstances that are hard to even imagine. They are fascinating stories, sometimes hard to comprehend or believe. I think perhaps that this book should be mandatory reading for anyone who is prepared to adopt a child, particularly from foster care or from overseas. It offers a great deal of promise for those that either unwittingly or knowingly, adopt a damaged child. Even if you are not adopting, I think this is a fascinating subject.
In addition, the book was very well-narrated. I highly recommend it.
Towards the beginning of the book I thought the book was too technical. It sounded like it was for students of psychology. However I am glad I didn't quit listening. As you progress through the book the stories refer back to that technical information and really helps you understand how the brain works.
This is not a book of stories like "Chicken Soupmfor the Soul". This actually tells you about the affects of childhood trauma on the brain. It was not what I expected, but it was very interesting. I would recommend.
I know the title is greatly over-applied to all kinds of books, but this one really is . . . a life-changer, I mean . . . potential "civilization changer" even ! I'm already sympathetic to the lessons recent progress in medical science and psychiatric studies offer, and I lean to supporting social changes that build upon such lessons; even so, this book of clinical case studies educated me better, and opened my eyes, quite a bit more than any reading has in some time. Don't dismiss my comments as meaning that the author preaches or reveals any sort of social agenda--if there is any, it's very subtle. Even so, I find myself wishing that everyone in the country--or world--could read and seriously consider this book's implications. Some deeply serious thought is needed towards recognizing and dealing with social problems. Even if you're not in the mood to think too seriously right now, you'll find that this book is also very entertaining and the more serious issues are very well-explained for laypersons, educators, parents, whomever might read. In the process--whatever you present state of mind--the questions and reconsiderations that rise in your mind will last a long time.
I listened to this book over two days, and at the end of it I felt pretty depressed. The many stories of neglect, abuse and trauma were overwhelming, but I could not stop listening, and alternately felt anger, disbelief, sadness and hope.
The brain science, I admit, went over my head in several places, but the ultimate message of the book (that relationships are the agents of change) rang true. The final hour or so is a plea for stronger communities, better support for families and education about children and their development, cooperation over competition, and a parenting style that allows kids to take risks, make decisions and experience the world.
The authors' theory that solid relationships can go a long way to preventing problems, or fixing them once they've happened, makes a lot of sense to me. And I appreciate that while medications are sometimes necessary for these kids, they are by no means the most important part of their therapy. The authors also reject the notion that we are all slaves to our genes and that these kids turned out the way they did because they were programmed to do so. I feel there is some hope in these messages.
Big fan of listening to books of all shapes and sizes. Primarily: sci fi, fantasy, nonfiction in human services, buddhism, and classics.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to ever. It is an essential read/listenfor anyone interested in Trauma Informed Care, youth work, foster care, etc.
I will hear this author speak in person at the local university in a couple of months. I have heard so much about Dr. Bruce Perry over the years. I wanted to read one of his books in preparation for his visit. I am so glad I did! Although colleagues suggest that this one is the harshest in terms of the stories of abused children, it wasn't any worse than what I've seen in real life in my profession of 30 years, sadly. I got great hope from the book as I heard about lives recovered, although not every story ended happily.
The story that triggered the title of the book is a compelling one. This was not a case of purposeful neglect, but in the end the damage could have been the same as if it was inflicted from malice. Discovering how it came to be that this boy was raised as a dog opened my heart and mind to imagining what can happen without close family nearby to step in after the loss of a parent.
In every anecdote, my favorite was the moment of discovery of what happened, and the care with which the therapist helped others understand the impact on the young brain, how growth was stunted and how it needed to be handled to get it growing again--or at least adapting enough to become functional.
The danger of making this into a movie or TV show is that children's lives would be exploited. I would like to see it made into a PBS Special.
I learned a great deal from this book. Even if a child has not been traumatized, there are developmental milestones that need to be attended to. I'm very glad I read it and highly recommend it. I look forward to Dr. Perry's visit.
This is a worthwhile listen for anyone interested in early child development, and how trauma or neglect can lay the early framework for violent criminal behavior later in life. There were definitely some eye-opening revelations, such as how neglect during infancy can lead to actual physical manifestations such as small head size.
After listening to this book I feel like I have a much better understanding of how some child behavioral problems develop, and also a much less judgmental opinion of the parents who raised these kids.
Unfortunately, the author lost a few points with me during the closing remarks when he basically stated that I am a social failure because I live alone. It is not because I am incapable of forming meaningful social relationships that I choose to live alone. It is because I finally grew tired of being used, manipulated, and lied to by my romantic partners and through diligent self-exploration I realized that I am a worthwhile and deserving person in and of myself, without need of another person to "complete me".
I probably would have given this book a higher rating had it not been for this closing insult, although I do realize that it was unintentional. Have a listen, and form your own opinion
I learned a lot about how the brain developed and the importance of good relationship in the early years of life. Dr Perry is an excellent teacher and keeps the reader engaged
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