Ashley X: Background information when reading Far From the Tree

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Far From the Tree

Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

By Andrew Solomon

Far From the Tree
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  • Hardcover: Nov 2012,
    976 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2013,
    976 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Morgan Macgregor

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Ashley X

One of the stories Solomon tells in Far From The Tree is about Ashley X (the last name is to protect identity), a disabled girl whose story generated a lot of controversy about disability and its treatment.

Ashley X, born in 1997, was diagnosed in infancy with static encephalopathy, a brain disorder that is similar to cerebral palsy. Ashley was labeled "Permanently Unabled," which means that she would remain at infant level, mentally and physically, for the duration of her life. Ashley cannot walk, talk, feed herself, raise her head, or turn over. She can sleep, she can wake, she can breathe, and she can smile. Ashley's parents call her their "Pillow Angel," and dedicate the majority of their days to caring for her in every way - tube-feeding, changing, bathing, dressing, positioning and entertaining.

When Ashley was six, she started showing signs of precocious puberty, which is common in children with brain damage. Her parents worried about both her growth and the pain and ...

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