In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan & Caren Zucker immediately drew me in. As many of you know, I'm a speech language pathologist by career and while I currently work in Geriatrics, what originally drew me toward this career is children. Funny how I always thought I'd work with kids and I've been with adults for over 7 years now.
Anyway, in graduate school and while I was doing my internships, I loved worked with children. Children with Down-Syndrome, birth defects, general language delays, and autism. I quickly learned that while these labels can make their life more difficult, they are incredibly special children and always have something to teach me. Beautiful, it is.
Autism has always been especially intriguing to me. The spectrum is wide and every single child who may be identified as having autism is completely different than another child identified. Honestly, it is just like all children. My son doesn't have autism but he is completely different from any other little boy his age. He's got his unique characteristics and he's mine. Make sense?
In a Different Key follows the story of autism from the very beginning. The book begins by sharing the story of a child who is believed to be the first child with autism. I personally believe that autism was around for hundreds of years before it was identified (as were many other disorders and diseases, etc.) but this child is mentioned as having a unique set of characteristics and symptoms and the observation and learning about him led to the name "autism".
The story of this first child with autism is woven throughout a large portion of the book. I was amazed at how more children with autism were identified, how it was believed that children would have autism in the first place (who/what was to blame), and how people treated children/people with autism.
This book is FULL. It is over 600 pages and research heavy. As a professional, I really enjoyed this book but it is definitely not a light read. I felt like a few areas were repetitive but overall, it was written well. I think it could be a great resource for families of a child/person with autism.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.