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I Was #87: A Deaf Woman's Ordeal of Misdiagnosis, Institutionalization, and Abuse
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I Was #87: A Deaf Woman's Ordeal of Misdiagnosis, Institutionalization, and Abuse

Anne M. Bolander, Adair N. Renning

"I was six years old, alone and terrified, and no one knew that I was deaf". So began Anne Bolander's five-year ordeal at an institution for retarded and unwanted children. Emotions were not allowed at the institution, where children were beaten bloody for laughing, crying, or even touching another child. Children lived a robotic existence, and like robots, were known by numbers instead of names. Anne was #87.

She endured five years of this abuse before being removed and placed in St. Mary's of Providence Center, where teachers correctly assessed her as deaf, not retarded. After only one year, Anne returned home and there survived many more years of abuse. Her story calls for vigilance today and everyday.

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