Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Beautiful Child'- Torey Hayden

 Seven year old Venus Fox never spoke, never listened, never even acknowledged another human being in the room with her. Yet an accidental playground 'bump' would release a rage frightening to behold. The school year that followed would prove to be one of the most trying, perplexing, and ultimately rewarding Torey's career, as she struggled to reach a silent child in obvious pain and remained committed to helping a 'hopeless' girl, and patiently and lovingly leading her towards the light of a new day.

Published by: Harper Element - Memoir
Year: 2007 Paper Back
Pages: 448
ISBN: 13-978-0-00-720763-3

Torey Hayden has spent her career looking after special ed children.  In 'Beautful Child' Torey shares her memories of a year spent in class with five  wonderful children. Billy, Shane, Zane, Jessie and of course Venus.  There were other children who dropped in and out of this class but these five were her main class.  Each had their own educational needs.  Most started off being very disruptive and in the case of Venus quite aggressive.  Billy was eventually diagnosed with Dyslexia, Jessie had a diagnosis of Tourettes and twins Zane and Shane did have a diagnosis but were in need of input from a special needs teacher.  Torey tells of their individual struggles as well as their triumphs.  

I felt Torey's memories could of been shared in less than the 448 pages but that's just my opinion.  I must admit I did think that the book was going to concentrate more on Venus and how she eventually got this young girl to break her silence.  The book actually focuses more on the whole class rather than one individual and it wasn't really until Chapter 24 out of 35 that you really got to understand the complexity of Venus's problems both emotional and physical. 

It is the first book of Torey Hayden's that I have read, having a child with ASD I am always drawn to books around speech or the lack of.  Fortunately our number 3 does have speech and communicates very well albeit that sometimes he gets a little muddles. This book was from a book swap with a colleague at work and we both came to similar conclusions.  That said we both said we would read more of Torey Hayden's books in the future.

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