Zachary takes on a case which puts him into a shocking situation.
He meets with a broken mother, Mira Kelly, who refuses to believe that her son's death was an accident. Quentin was special to her. Quentin was an autistic young man who wanted to be understood but never quite got his wish.
The case takes Zachary to The Summit Learning Center. Summit has a controversial education method. Zachary meets Dr. Abato, who rationalizes this method:
Dr. Abato nodded gravely. “We have to put a stop to it, Mr. Goldman. I have to save as many of these children as I can, by whatever means I can devise. To hell with rules and regulations. Somebody has to do something for them.”
That is little comfort to Mira Kelly, who no longer has her son. Coming back to the "shock." Zachary believes their method is barbaric. Dr. Abato explains that they are the parents last chance; they have given up hope. The parents just want their children to be able to cope in the world; they have exhausted all other options. The aversives are supposed to be strenuously monitored and are not life-threatening. The kids receive tokens if they do as they are supposed to, which they can spend on rewards.
"This is our store," Abato pointed out a glass-fronted retail store where Zachary saw girl's frilly dresses, handbags, snacks, magazines, and other sundries that a commissary or gift shop might have.
So why would any child want to leave?
Zachary believes that if it seems too good to be true, it is. He himself spent a lot of time in Bonnie Brown, another residential school. Could his own experiences be clouding his judgements? How could he counter Dr. Abato's claims? "We have an incredible success rate," and "We have succeeded in improving the behaviour of some of the country's most intractable students. They can learn! Even those who refuse to talk."
What else could go wrong? Will this case help Zachary put his demons to rest, or will make things even worse?
This book will keep you on your toes! You won't be able to put it down.