David* continues his ongoing therapies at the home he currently resides at: physical, mental/emotional, occupational, behavioral. Not much progress has been made. David continues to flummox even the most experienced of doctors and therapists; they have never seen a case as extreme as this.
David is six years old but looks far younger. He is tiny for his age, extremely malnourished and underweight, with wild, unkempt dark hair, hooded dark eyes that seem devoid of all emotion except rage, and angular in appearance: he seems to be all arms and legs (and eyes). He is not a very attractive child. When one sees David, they think of the "Wild Boy" of filmdom or a caged wild animal instead of a human child.
At the age of six, David is nonverbal, seemingly severely mentally handicapped, and is not toilet-trained: he wears diapers. Whenever he eats, he shovels food in as fast as it is placed in front of him: he is always chronically hungry. He never can seem to get enough. He eats with his hands instead of using a knife, fork, or spoon.
David had been placed into a home for severely disabled children, in the hopes that he could be brought out of his shell, but to no avail. There have been some small signs of progress, but it seems that as soon as one is made, two giant steps are made backwards, and it's back to square one all over again. It is extremely frustrating.
David's mother, who is currently in jai for child neglect and endangerment, seems uninterested in contacting her son or even if she were able, to even visit him at the home. She is more concerned about her alcohol or her live-in boyfriend, who is said to have fathered David (although this hasn't actually been proven).
I have seen David a few times when I have gone to the home on assignment (I am a social worker specializing in behavioral science), and I must tell you that once you see him, you will never be the same ever again. I know I'm not. I think of him quite often and cannot seem to get him out of my mind.
I just wonder what went through David's mother's mind to warrent treating her own child, her flesh and blood, with such indignity and lack of parental love or guidance. David certainly deserved far better treatment from his mother; he badly needed love, discipline, personal care. He would have probably been a far different child had his mother became more involved in his life or in his overall upbringing.
David now faces a future full of uncertainty and doubt. There is no telling whether he will ever get over his serious mental problems. He might with intensive therapies or counseling sessions, but one question plays itself over and over in my mind, like a broken record: how in the world do you reach a child that seems so ... unreachable ... or closed within himself?
This is the dilemma I (and his doctors and therapists) are currently facing. We are willing to try anything once, but it is so hard dealing with a child who is in such dire need of therapy and medical care/supervision!
~To be continued.~
*Not child's real name.