Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dani's Story

If you happened to watch Oprah last Thursday, then you have already seen this story. The episode was centered on the life of Dani, a girl found "living" alone in a room. In squalor and without interaction, Dani endured the most extreme neglect and survived.

I have not been able to find a link to the actual video, if anyone knows I will happily post it. This is the link to the story on Oprah's website and a link to the website of the family Dani now has.

In particular, several slides in the middle are from Dr. Bruce Perry and one shows the effect of neglect on the brain of a 3 year old child from an orphanage, compared to one of an average 3 year old. It is an MRI and it looks how I have always pictured Genea's brain might look. Like there is barbed wire in it, or similar to one of those old steel- wool dish pads.

I see Genea there, the similarities are striking. Of course the situations are vastly different, but the effect of extreme neglect, of unmet needs has comparable results.


  1. I've seen the TLC (I think) program called Wild Children or something. Seen the brain scans, very scary. Hopefully Genea was brought to you early enough to overcome some neglect before her brain stopped mapping, or early enough for her brain to build a detour.

    It pisses me off that it takes the "proper authorities" so long to finish up cases in foster care, by the time they are 6 or 7 the damage is done and almost irreversible. That thought is the ONLY reason I hang on most days.

  2. I remember reading about Dani's story. Thank God she is with loving people now. Dr. Bruce Perry's book "The boy who was raised as a dog", is very good, very enlightening and informative, if you have never read it. I recommend it.

  3. I don't watch Oprah and was not familiar with Dani's story. However, I have seen the videos/reports on the neglect and the 3-yr old brain. It's amazing what that can do!

  4. Another fan of Dr. Perry and his book. It's a great read. And, it addresses how we as parents con do so much for our children who have suffered trauma and neglect.

  5. I've not heard of this case, but it's interesting. i'll look it up. i've read cases regarding neglected kids from Romania in the early 90, a lot of the brain damage done can not be really undone, just helped. It's too sad.
    Have you ever had a brain scan done? just wondering. i had a MMR it rather strange to see inside your own brain (at least they proved that there was one there!)

  6. Thanks for sharing! This topic is one that really interests me! Our 3rd child has some development concerns! We found out recently that they were probably brought about through neglect and malnutrition! At this point we are trying to do everything in our power to catch him up through nurture, experiences, and lots of LOVE! I will have to get Dr. Perry's book to see what other things we can add!

    Thanks again for sharing!
    Love your blog!
    Kayla @ Living the Good Life

  7. Genea came to us at 4 and spent probably a 8 months in a state of near total constant stress. It is getting better for her but I think some things may never be recovered. Hopefully for the most part she is pulling through!


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