What About the Boy?

In 1985, Judy and Steve, a young couple who have recently relocated far from family and friends, become parents of a baby boy who has acute and mysterious problems.

The new parents are astonished when the child’s doctors neither explain what has happened nor propose a way of treating it. Instead, the doctors seek to minimize the emotional impact on the parents by recommending counseling for them, and only day-care for little Joseph. Judy and Steve reject that course of action. They insist that their son deserves a chance to be comfortable and to have options in life. Further, Judy feels a need to prove that she is a worthy mother, and Steve seeks to compensate for not having achieved the goal of becoming a physician himself.

Following leads provided by other parents, they find their way to alternative providers and become actively involved in Joseph’s therapy. His condition improves. He is no longer in distress, and he begins to catch up, developmentally, with other children his age. The campaign to rescue their son demands all of Judy and Steve’s resources until ultimately they must confront their limitations.

Based on the 2011 memoir by Stephen Gallup.

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