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)
As a sixth grade teacher, I have had (over many years) a few children with whom I simply could not connect. These children have usually had some kind of traumatic back-story. Either they had been in an orphanage where they were given food and kept clean, but did not receive love, or they had come from a family with dysfunction written all over it.
It is so clear to me, after reading this book, that these children were all suffering from early childhood deficiencies in love and attention. This book will change the way I attend to children who present with the same behaviors in the future. I honestly feel that this book (and the information in it) has changed my life.
The narrator does an excellent job. The writing, which is written as case studies so the listener cares about the child and his/her family, is very clear, easy to understand, and very enjoyable. I listened to the whole book in about 4-5 days, then I reread it again, in case I missed anything. ( I hope that doesn't cost any more!)
If you deal with children as a parent, a relative, a caregiver, a teacher, or a therapist, I think you will inhale this book and never let it out. It was absolutely wonderful.
This book consists of stories of incredible abuse and victimization of children interspersed with Dr. Perry's insights into what children need to feel loved and treasured while they grow up. The situations of the children are heart-breaking, but Dr. Perry humanizes what can be. His descriptions of the therapy he has provided are vivid and interesting; it made me wish all hurt children could see him. He reads the book very well. I gained a lot of insight, and I read the paper and watch the news differently since I have listened to this book. I don't want to make it seem dry in any way--I was sorry when it ended.
I am a therapist working with children and adolescents who have been exposed to trauma, loss and neglect. This is one of the best books to explain how these pervasive conditions affect children. I recommend this book to parents, students and pretty much anyone who will listen to me. Bruce Perry and the Child Trauma Academy are doing some amazing work on the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Many times I see children presenting to therapists with behavior issues and instead of looking for a trauma history and working on the real issues, therapists try to treat the symptoms (behavior) and labels the children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This continues the message to the child that he/she is is "bad" and the symptoms increase instead of decrease.
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.
Seeking the Truth
This brilliantly written audiobook focuses not on how to get your child into the right preschool or whether that three-hour dance lesson each week is enough to get your child onto Broadway; rather, this audiobook basically concentrates on how to keep from raising a sociopath. The authors present heartrending examples of emotionally traumatized children whom they've helped counsel over their long years of child psychiatric practice, then explain in layman's terms how a child's brain works and how the child can be remolded, if caught early enough, to heal and function well in society, maybe even happily. While this is more of a textbook than easy-listening material, the journey into the child's brain and how it works is fascinating, and the overall theme of the book -- about a human's critical need for "lasting, caring connections to others" -- is thought-provoking long after the audiobook has ended.
"The Boy who was Raised as a Dog" should be required reading for all high school and college students -- and for all those parents and parents-to-be who think they know all about how to raise a successful child.
This nonfiction audiobook is definitely an intriguing listen. The author, a prominent child psychologist, reflects upon his more high profile and memorable cases. Though Perry uses pseudonyms, each case history rings with authenticity, interspersed with the science and theories of the mind. Perry discusses a wide range of disorders and scenarios of the worst types of neglect. Sexual abuse, outright neglect, Munchausen By Proxy, children of the Branch Davidians, orphans from Eastern Europe and even juvenile delinquents all fall into this fascinating book.
The narrator’s voice convincingly sounds like the author. Although, and perhaps this isn’t as apparent if reading it silently, the author’s own hubris begins to slip through as he displays pride in his own genius and revolutionary ideas in treating these troubled children. And though this pride is certainly justifiable in the successes recounted here, it makes the book slightly off-putting at times. And though the book is certainly sad, only focusing on successful cases mitigates the book’s overall depressing nature, though it does cast the author in an occasionally negative light. It’s an interesting listen though.
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.
Great book for anyone who has a small child or children in their life. I learned a lot, not just based on this doctors word, but the science and statistics behind it.
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.
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