Thursday, March 01, 2007

"Strange Son" Recalls Struggle of Autistic Boy Who Gains Words

The New York Times praises Portia Iverson's new book "Strange Son" as an honest, unvarnished account of the struggles she and her family have gone through to help her son, Dov, achieve the ability to communicate. You can read the review here.

For a nonverbal boy, this achievement meant that after years of silence, Dov could reveal his ability to read, could say how he felt about his younger brother, could express desires for certain toys. What makes the account resonate, says reviewer Abigail Zuger, is Iverson's refusal to sugarcoat the ongoing challenges: "Although teenage Dov can now communicate effectively and learn at his grade level, he remains saddled with profound emotional, neurological and behavioral abnormalities" -- a point made in contrast to many media messages that suggest parents should look for miraculous recoveries from autism, Zuger writes.

Iverson also describes her experience bringing from Bangalore, India to southern California Soma Mukhopadhyay and her autistic son Tito, who has learned to write poetry and communicate very well -- as long as his mother is nearby. The book recounts how Soma's style of teaching her son helped Dov.

Iverson probably could write a second book about her experience as an activist and advocate. She co-founded the advocacy group Cure Autism Now (which recently merged with Autism Speaks) and also co-founded the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, a gene bank for researchers.

To read more about the book, visit The Times posted an excerpt on its website which you can find here (it's a PDF file).


Anonymous said...

I watch the media downplay the challenges families face with the diagnosis of autism especially when the percentage of children being diagnosed is raised.
thanks for this video

Anonymous said...

Your review of the book STRANGE SON was on target. Although it is at times painful in its scope and honesty to read, I highly recommend it. But what makes this book about autism stand out, is that its author first unravels a unique, 'one-of-a-kind' miracle --Soma's discovery and ability to communicate with her son Tito, and then shares the journey with the rest of us. The biggest message I got from STRANGE SON was one of hope, that by understanding what enables one non-verbal autistic person to communicate, there can now be a matter-of-fact method for enabling others.
Audrey Quarles,