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Extended Audio Sample Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism Audiobook, by Portia Iversen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (143 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Portia Iversen Narrator: Jane Kaczmarek Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2006 ISBN: 9780743555814
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The uplifting true story of two mothers from opposite sides of the world united to help their sons

Portia Iversen’s life was turned upside down when her two-year-old son Dov was diagnosed with autism. Desperate to find a treatment, Portia was shocked to learn that almost nothing was known about the disorder, which only a handful of researchers were studying.

When Portia heard of a severely autistic nonverbal boy in India whose mother had taught him to read and write, she arranged for mother and son to visit the United States to help researchers understand what can be learned from their success. Soma Mukhopadhyay’s achievement was truly astonishing: not only could her son Tito communicate, but he had an IQ of 185 and wrote beautiful poetry. Her revolutionary teaching method allowed Tito to explain the startling differences in his sensory perception, offering scientists an unrivaled window into the autistic mind.

Part memoir, part detective story, Strange Son is the captivating account of these families’ extraordinary journeys, an inspiring tale of the power of two mothers’ determination to find hope where there was once only despair.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Strange Son is a stunning book—at once passionate, provocative and profound.”

    Peter C. Whybrow, MD, director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and author of American Mania: When More Is Not Enough 

  • Strange Son tells the story of Portia Iversen’s journey through the halls of science, the new frontiers of the brain, and finally to a meeting with an extraordinary woman from India who was equally determined to show the world that her own autistic son was intelligent and so much more than his symptoms.”

    Bradley Whitford, actor 

  • “This is an important, beautifully written book that makes gripping reading.” 

    Martha Herbert, MD, Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School 

  • “Exciting and uplifting.” 

    Maya Angelou

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 2/6/2014

    " A bit much about Portia, which is easy to forgive given the scope and depth of this book. Encountering autism as a challenge to be met instead of marginalized, Iverson devotes her life to focusing the scientific community on the particularities of autism. Profound consideration of the nature and effects of the disorder. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patty | 1/12/2014

    " Interesting only because I teach children with autism, but truly, I find this all improbable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 1/1/2014

    " This book really enlightened me regarding autism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandy | 12/29/2013

    " Amazing story from a mother whos son has autism. The author started Cure Autism Now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Atarah | 12/11/2013

    " I enjoyed the background of Portia and why she started the company she did. I had heard of it briefly in relation to work, but I really didn't know too much about it or what brought it around. I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon Howard | 12/11/2013

    " Lots of technical/medical information that could be overwhelming; good information for parents; good insight into children with severe autism and family dynamics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine | 9/22/2013

    " Autism in the raw, amazing read, helped you to have a better understanding of autism. The struggles and hopes are well discribed. Most of the time I felt part of the families. Prob will read again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andie | 4/9/2012

    " This was a fascinating book. It read part text book, part novel, and showed the loving determination of a mother trying to 'unlock' her autistic son. Unbelievably interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jess | 4/4/2012

    " A must-read for anyone interested in autism. It wasn't just interesting, it was exciting! I have more hope now. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lindsay | 10/7/2011

    " This is the back story of how CAN- Cure Autism Now- foundation started. I'm not a huge fan of the facilitated communication approach used in the book, but if some of the research the children were put through had something useful to say for the autism world, then ok! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shontelle | 9/3/2011

    " a must read for anyone dealing with autism for the first time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcela | 7/31/2011

    " One of the best books I've read on autism, from point of view of parent struggling to understand science and probing son's point of view "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mom of katie | 4/21/2010

    " Fascinating topic, good information, helpful insight for my work with an autistic student. Had to wade through every. detail. of. every. moment. to get to it, though. Half the size, and some editing would mean more readers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brynn | 3/16/2008

    " I LOVE this book! Whoever thought a 9-year old would love this book? I don't know. What 9-year old liked the book? ME! "

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About the Author

Portia Iversen, an Emmy Award-winning art director for The Tracey Ullman Show, has been a vigorous proponent of autism research since her son Dov was diagnosed. Together with her husband, Jon Shestack, she established the Cure Autism Now Foundation, one of the largest nongovernmental funding resources for autism research worldwide. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.