A riveting memoir of extreme loss and unimaginable gain, this book recounts the story of a child who, although unable to express herself, lives fully aware of her limiting circumstances. Robbed of speech and bodily control, and despite her loving parents’ best efforts to help her, Peyton Goddard suffered neglect and ongoing sexual abuse by many who dismissed her as autistic and severely mentally retarded. Peyton’s violent outbursts and bizarre, self-destructive behavior left her parents terrified at the prospect of having to institutionalize their daughter. No one could have imagined that she possessed a brilliant mind in her uncooperative body until her first opportunity to communicate electronically at age 22 when she typed “I AM INTLGENT,"e; a breakthrough reminiscent ofThe Miracle Worker.After two decades, mother and daughter are finally able to communicate, and Peyton goes on to graduate valedictorian from college.
Her story challenges assumptions that any child, regardless of competence, can be less of a human being. Today Peyton is following through on her vow to be an advocate on behalf of other devalued people. Her inspirational life helps readers transcend stereotypes and join her in the radical notion that, as she says, “All people are vastly valuable. Treasure all because great is each.”