An Extraordinary Silence: The Emergence of a Deeply Disturbed Child

An Extraordinary Silence: The Emergence of a Deeply Disturbed Child

An Extraordinary Silence: The Emergence of a Deeply Disturbed Child

An Extraordinary Silence: The Emergence of a Deeply Disturbed Child

Synopsis

A child specialist describes his unconventional techniques, both professional and personal, to draw out a severly introverted, speechless nine-year-old boy who had not been reached by other therapists or even his family. The boy had built an elaborate fortress against a world that had declared him incapable of learning, of communicating, of feeling. As the specialist realized that the family was so distressed in relating with their son that they were unable to continue living with him, he sought alternative arrangements. Meanwhile, the most important work with this emotionally abandoned boy was to convince him of his basic worth and capacity, and to show him that his choices could make a difference for himself even in the face of inevitable frustration, denial, and rejection. Mr. Cipolloni has written the story of his work with Sean to illustrate how our society has a fundamental disregard for people, particularly children; he maintains that it is a society that dismisses those it cannot utilize and leaves us increasingly incapable of forming deep, focused interpersonal relationships.

Excerpt

This is a work of non-fiction.

In order to respect the confidential nature of the subject matter and to protect the privacy of the principal characters, their names have been changed, and any identifying locations, circumstances, and events have been altered.

I have written this with great respect for all the children and families that are presented or referred to here, and for all of the others that I have worked with that are in many ways represented here.

I do not presume, intend, nor wish to rebuke, blame, or judge any of the actual people involved. I do hope to help unravel the gnarled and confusing issues of responsibility and action in dealing with children of difficulty and uniqueness, perhaps to cast another angle of light upon the purposes and effects of categorizing, theorizing about, and perceiving them.

I came to know a deep empathy with each of the children and family members and it is from that knowing, of the sheer and utter pain and helplessness and anger and loneliness of their experience, that I came to write this.

David Cipolloni November 1992 Flagler Beach, Florida . . .

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