Transcenders Succeed Against All Odds

BOSTON - Abandoned by her mother, raised in a small West Virginia town by an abusive aunt and a lecherous uncle, Elizabeth didn't seem to have a chance.

But when her impoverished family couldn't even provide a bathtub, and a school counselor complained she was dirty, she made the swim team so she could get a daily shower.

Too poor to ever dream of owning a clarinet or violin, she joined the school band anyway, playing whatever instrument the school had to offer.

For years, psychologists have studied children who crumbled under the weight of a traumatic upbringing, reinforcing the notion that abused children become ruined adults.

But recently they have come to believe that the Elizabeths of the world - called ``transcenders'' by one researcher - can yield clues on how to help all kinds of troubled children.

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