For decades, former special education teacher Torey Hayden has been a light in the darkness for severely troubled children, and she has chronicled her determined efforts, triumphs, and breakthroughs in a series of internationally bestselling books, beginning with her powerful and poignant One Child. But it wasn't until she left the classroom that she faced three of her most extraordinary challenges.
While working in the children's psychiatric ward of a large city hospital, Hayden was introduced to seven-year-old Cassandra, a child who had been kidnapped by her father and found three states away, starving, dirty, and picking through garbage cans. What she had suffered during that time was a mystery, since she refused to speak of it, and all attempts to get to the root of her erratic, increasingly violent behavior had hitherto failed. This would certainly be one of Torey Hayden's most difficult cases, for how do you reach a child so horrifically abused that she views every attempt to break through her defenses as life-threatening?
Drake was a charming, charismatic four-year-old who managed to participate fully in his preschool class without uttering a single word. He would only speak to his mother, who brought the boy, clutching his beloved stuffed tiger, "Friend," to Hayden. Pressured by Drake's tough, unbending grandfather, who demanded immediate results, the therapist feared that overly stringent treatment would only tear his family further apart. And though a specific course of action seemed clear, even she was unprepared for the shocking truth about little Drake's condition.
Then there was Gerda, eighty-two, whom a massive stroke had rendered fearful and unwilling to engage in conversation with anyone. Though Hayden had never worked with adults, she agreed to help when all other efforts had failed -- and discovered in the process that what Gerda could do was nearly as heartbreaking as her limitations.
A woman suffering in the twilight of her years and two children trapped in the ever-darkening shadows -- these are the cases that would test one healer's courage, compassion, and skill, and ultimately reaffirm her faith in the indomitable strength of the human spirit....Continua