The deficits David Pelzer will have to overcome according to biological and environmental foundations and emotional and social development will deal primarily with the neglect he suffered as a child.
This environmental history will play a major role and an obstacle at being accepted into new schools, new families and in any future job he holds. He will have to come to terms with the ‘normal’ relationships children and parents have as opposed to his neglected childhood upbringing by not only his mother, but the social service system and foster families.
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The way in which David experience mental health is through the actions of his mother. His mother, Catherine Roerva, tortured David both physically and emotionally by not even considering him a son, or a human being but an ‘it’.
As such her mental health made it impossible for her to raise her child and instead her disease (and her alcoholism) made her torture him, not feed or clothe him and basically not treat him as a son not to mention a person, “SMACK, mother hits me in the face and I topple to the floor. I know better than to stand there and take the hit. I learned the hard way that she takes that as an act of defiance, which means more hits or worst of all no food.
I regain my posture and dodge her looks as she screams into my ears”(Pelzer 3). To a young child, such experiences of mental health make it detrimental to truly experience anything normal for his sense of normalcy is warped due to his exposure of these horrific experiences.
Although David did have one of the worst childhood abuse cases in the state of California (he was caged in the basement, not allowed to eat, and was threatened physically almost daily) he did end up in the child welfare system where he tried to adjust to a new life outside of his mother’s abuse.
Finally at the age of 12 David was taken from his mother’s care thanks to the help of school teachers and other authorities and at that time he entered into the social welfare system through foster care. In this system David experienced other types of both horrible and kind human activity for which he goes into detail with his other book entitled The Lost Boy: A A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family.
On the issue of biological deficits, David Pelzer may have to face the fact that his mother neglected him after he was born,
Genetic counseling is a communication process designed to help couples assess their
Chances of giving birth to a baby with a hereditary disorder and choose the best course of action in view of risks and family goals.
As such, David’s mother, given the choice may not have had her son because of her own actions which was detrimental to his health. In David’s case, it is not a hereditary disorder but more of an environmental disorder that he has in him.
Pelzer, David. (1995). A Boy Called It. HCI. 1995.
Wall, Charles M. (April, 1975). Child Abuse: A Societal Problem with Educational Implications. Peabody Journal of Education. 52 (3). 222-225.
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