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During this time, speech and language therapists helped him begin to speak, providing the exposure to words he'd missed in his childhood. His once dormant, undeveloped neural networks began to respond to these new repetitive patterns of stimulation. His brain seemed to be like a sponge, thirsty for the experiences it required, and eagerly soaking them up.

After two weeks, Justin was well enough to be discharged from the hospital and placed in a foster family. For the next few months, he made remarkable progress. This was the most rapid recovery from severe neglect that we had yet seen. It changed my perspective on the potential for change following early neglect. I became much more hopeful about the prognosis for neglected children.

Get more advice from Dr. Bruce Perry

Find out how you can help a traumatized child

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz. Published by Basic Books. © 2009

Perry, B.D. Childhood experience and the expression of genetic potential: what childhood neglect tells us about Nature and nurture Brain and Mind 3: 79-100, 2002; Johnson R, Browne K, Hamilton-Giachritsis C. Young children in institutional care at risk of harm.Trauma Violence Abuse. 2006 Jan;7(1):34-60. Anda RF, Felitti VJ, Bremner JD, Walker JD, Whitfield Ch, Perry BD, Dube ShR, Giles WH. The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood : A convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2006 Apr;256(3):174-86. Epub 2005 Nov 29.
FROM: The Little Girl Found Living Like an Animal
Published on March 03, 2009

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