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"The Boy at the End of the Road" by Alan Dwight


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This story is a touching saga of one boy's determined (and ultimately successful) effort to bring another boy literally out of his PTSD-induced shell.  I have no idea whether the medical/psychological issues are accurately depicted, but it doesn't concern me -- it's a good story, with an ending that is a bit of a surprise given where things seemed to be going.  Ultimately very uplifting.


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I loved this story - it's definitely one of Alan's best. PTSD in preschool children is now recognized as a separate entity from that in older children and adolescents, where signs and symptoms are more like those in adults. Young children lack the coping strategies we all develop to deal with intolerable memories. Regression is common, as is displacement and transference. Young children may show signs of developmental delays, develop new physical symptoms such as bed wetting or stomach pains, or remember the events as something that happened to someone else. This story, however, deals with an adolescent who's already been subjected to intensive counseling and probably been tried on a full array of meds. In any case, he responds to anxiety with panic attacks and by shutting down. That he's able to rationalize this likely reflects his intelligence. The story seems to be fairly realistic except for the reaction to his father's accident - most boys would experience a major relapse with something like that. Otherwise, this is a very believable story, beautifully told.

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