This book by legendary RAD expert, Dr. Bruce Perry, is a must-read for any parent dealing with a child with attachment issues. Perry manages to explain complex neurological systems and disorders while captivating the reader through an excellent narrative comprised of stories of former patients.
The book is organized by chapters studying one or two of Perry’s previous patients with detailed, yet simple to understand, explanations of how they came to be unattached. Each chapter is a miniature story in and of itself. Although upon casual observation the book may appear to be arranged in a haphazard fashion, it is anything but! Each chapter’s case study and accompanying lesson in human development, cognition, and attachment behavior is carefully crafted to build on previous chapters’ information.
The cases discussed in the book include the infamous Waco, Texas, cult survivors, a foster child who never bonded, an internationally adopted child, and a full blown psychopath. Each child mentioned suffered unnecessarily and Perry treats them with respect and dignity, even on the pages of a book far removed from the actual children. The stories that spoke the most to me were about a boy discovered at six years of age, having spent the previous five years in a dog crate, treated as a dog, and a little boy cribbed in a Russian orphanage for three years before being adopted. Both these stories resonated with me because of the children’s similarities to Ana.
I will most definitely be exploring the strategies Dr. Perry and his team used with these children! Also, I feel more confident in my understanding of reactive attachment disorder and the subtle tells that Ana reveals daily. I look forward to reading more of Dr. Perry’s work.
Although it may be tempting to jump around the book, the best method to gain the most from The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog is to read it introduction through appendix (with a good glass of wine snuggled up on the couch).