Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chaos, Abuse, and Neglect

Dani was 7 years old when Florida police finally came to investigate allegations of child abuse at her house. Weighing just 46 pounds, she had spent most of her young life curled up alone in her room, and was never allowed outdoors—even to go to school or see a doctor. The neglect was so severe, one expert says, that she would have been better off if she had been raised by animals.
Her story—including her adoption by a remarkable couple and her astonishing steps towards recovery—was featured recently on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," after her case was first exposed in a poignant multimedia story in the St. Petersburg Times. Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., was the featured guest on the program. He has evaluated Dani and is consulting on her treatment—and has also seen about 150 similar cases.

When police found her in a small, Plant City, Florida rental house, Dani was naked except for a heavy diaper. The stench was so strong that the officers expected to find a dead body.
Instead, they discovered a feral child: A girl so profoundly neglected that she had never learned to eat solid food, speak, or even understand language. Dani wasn't toilet-trained, and although she could walk, her gait was crab-like and uneven: She skittered on her toes.
Seemingly oblivious to the filth around her, Dani's mentally impaired mother told the officers, "I'm doing the best I can."
Although such extreme stories are rare, child neglect can be as harmful as abuse, and is sadly very common. More than two-thirds of the 905,000 confirmed cases of child maltreatment reported to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System in 2006 involved neglect.
*via MSN
wow, b3

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