Shout Out: Anderson Cooper Is Shining a Spotlight on Abuse and the Power of Love

Anderson Cooper

The brain scan on the left is of a child nurtured in a healthy environment.
The brain scan on the right is of a severely neglected child
who had a variation of total global neglect (similar to Dani’s story ~ see below).
Anderson Cooper:

Can a lack of love ~ a lack of touch and affection and attention ~ alter the development of the brain?

Child psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.:

Absolutely.  It sounds very odd, but, in fact, when you are an infant and your brain is developing, the love that the people around you give, the touch, the eye contact, the tone of voice, the things, the physical manifestations of our love literally provide stimulation to the developing brain, and the neurons in the brain have more sprouts.  They make certain areas connect more effectively.  They make certain areas grow.  They literally make the brain become functional.

 Love literally grows the brain.
Mr. Cooper:
If we didn’t have that love ~ didn’t have the connection of parents or family members ~ our brains are wired differently?
Dr. Perry:
In other words, a lack of nurturing leads to arrested development.  Our brains are wired differently from those of children reared in a healthy environment.  It is as serious as the injury to a brain caused by the physical trauma of child abuse.  Our brains have empty spaces that look like a very sad face on a brain scan.
The good news is that the damage can be reversed because the brain is resilient.  How?  Love.
You can watch a portion of this powerful exchange on today’s Anderson.

 Dr. Perry was on today’s show to lend his impressive professional expertise.  He is the founder of the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas.  The show was a celebration of families who have opened their homes and their hearts to foster children.

Dani’s Story

At the end of the show, Anderson introduced Danielle, a feral child who grew up in isolation, and Diane and Bernie Lierow, the loving family who took her in and changed her life.  Mr. and Mrs. Lierow have written Dani’s Story: A Journey from Neglect to Love.  Is is about Dani’s tragic beginnings of horrific neglect and how the couple and their five sons transformed her life.

There are a half million children in foster care.

While the media has ignored National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Anderson has been painting his set purple with a series of courageous and inspiring episodes featuring survivors.  Bravo!

The New York Times suggested he might be filling the space vacated by Oprah Winfrey.  Actually, I think he’s way better.  I like his compassion, empathy, and journalistic integrity.

Today’s post is a celebration of foster children.  It is a celebration of the families who embrace these children and give them a strong, healthy foundation for their lives.

Today’s post is also a celebration of survivors of child abuse and neglect.  You deserve to be loved.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  Please join me in wearing your purple and celebrating survivors.

See also:

Like NFL players, abused spouses can suffer brain trauma ~ but with little attention,” by Lindsey Tanner, Miami Herald, August 23, 2016

4 responses to “Shout Out: Anderson Cooper Is Shining a Spotlight on Abuse and the Power of Love

  1. Great news that he is giving a voice to those who otherwise might not be heard. I am blessed to have foster children who have always had someone love them, but most don’t have this advantage. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Instant Mama,

    May you be abundantly blessed for taking in six children so that they could stay together. I am VERY distressed that your case has been passed around like a hot potato within the welfare system. Your maternal instincts are on target, and I want to encourage you to listen to them.

    It is most definitely NOT in the best interest of these children to have so much changing of the guard. They’ve been through enough, and they need stability ~ not a kaleidoscope of professional opinions and plans. You know this. IMHO, it is time to take this to the top of the chain of command so that you can have some measure of stability for your children.

    The government is exceedingly fortunate that you have taken these children in, and they need to start respecting your generosity and love.

    That’s my two cents,
    Anne Caroline

  3. I am writing a testimony about an experience I had as a volunteer reading tutor and referenced the lack of love can arrest developments. I experienced it myself and did overcome with love. Love Child 54

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