In a Different Key: The Story of Autism

In 1938, Dr. Leo Kanner, a preeminent child psychiatrist in the United States, examined a boy named Donald Triplett. Donald was detached emotionally and didn't show signs of self-sufficiency or ability to recognize danger. He created rituals and expressed a rigid need for "sameness." It would be four years after first seeing Donald before Dr. Kanner coined a term for this collection of irregular behaviors; at that point Donald Triplett became the first person ever diagnosed with autism. His story begins In a Different Key, which is ABC contributing correspondent John Donvan and ABC producer/journalist Caren Zucker's in-depth look at this puzzling disorder.

While Donald's was the first diagnosis, Kanner did not believe he had " 'discovered' autism as much as found the eyes with which to see it." Since that time, the view of this "spectrum" has come into clearer and clearer focus, but it continues to mystify those in the fields of medicine and psychology and, above all, the families of the afflicted.

In a Different Key recounts the many strenuous trials that families have encountered and continue to face. But it also brilliantly illuminates the successes, the strengths and the hope. A cure has not been found, nor a definitive cause isolated, but today the medical field is brimming with research.

This isn't a quick read, but rather a book to be slowly digested and absorbed. Think of In a Different Key as a treatment program for blurred sight. Everyone who reads it will experience newfound clarity. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

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