LivAbility Magazine

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism

"In A Different Key: The Story of Autism"

Book Authors: John Donvan & Caren Zucker Review by: Dr. Aaron Blocher-Rubin, CEO of Arizona Autism United

In the 20 years that autism has been in my life (since my youngest brother was diagnosed), there has been no shortage of drama in the autism community. Rates of diagnosis have skyrocketed without any consensus explanation. Controversies and accusations have cast shadows over treatments claiming miraculous results. Conspiracy theories and class action lawsuits have been flung repeatedly at suspected causes. And all the while, we still don’t really know exactly what autism is.

Of all the autism books I’ve read, this one is my favorite. It should be required reading for all autism professionals. The authors are both award winning journalists, and one is a mother of an adult son with autism. Their writing style and storytelling abilities are incredible throughout all 552 pages. It is rare for me to read a book of that length that I can’t put down!

In a Different Key tells the history of autism with incredible detail and precision. The narrative is through the lens of a great storyteller who makes you, the reader, feel as if you are going through the journey together. The history of autism is truly fascinating and this book tells it like no other, from the life story of the very first person ever officially diagnosed to the autism community as we know it today. Many of us in this field have scattered knowledge about research studies, controversies, effective treatments, legal battles and famous names. This book ties them all together, and like all good history books, shows how each one arose as a product of what came before. As Carl Sagan famously said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” For that reason, anyone who is committed to progress for the autism community should read this book.

Dr. Aaron Blocher-Rubin
CEO of Arizona Autism United

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