From the Publisher
Savarese writes with passion and humor, careful to include extensive excerpts from DJ's typing, so readers get a sense of his remarkable growth.
...readers will find the elements documenting the foster care system worthwhile.
The Autism Acceptance Project Newsletter
This is... a story about what life is all about: trial, error, perseverance, and faith in people. Faith in love. Ralph, Emily and DJ give us that, and much more.
Savarese’s careful melding of memoir and passionate advocacy for the disabled informs and inspires.
That [Reasonable People] manages to avoid both polemic and cliché is reason enough to applaud.
By the end of Savarese's moving memoir, DJ is in sixth grade and getting all "A's" at regular school... "They think well-respected, tested-as-normal kids are the OK-to-teach ones," writes DJ [in the book's final chapter]. "They forget these lost kids." Perhaps this book will help others remember they are more than worth the effort
A moving memoir, it calls for "living with conviction in a cynical time."
Savarese, a writer and professor at Grinnell College, writes a moving account of his family's adoption of DJ, an abused, autistic youngster. Throughout, he describes the process of helping DJ communicate with the world and discusses larger issues of the rights of people with neurological differences. Savarese's wife, an autism professional, first encountered DJ when he was only two and a half; by the time they could adopt him, three years later, he'd lived in several homes and been badly abused in foster care. Because he didn't speak, people were unaware of what he'd suffered; some doubted he even could suffer, believing the myth that the autistic have no sense of self or others. As the Savareses worked with their son, teaching him to sign and to use "facilitated communication" with a keyboard, they learned more about his very deep thoughts and feelings. As they fought to include him in mainstream classrooms, they also struggled with his emerging demons: his memories of abuse, his pain from parental abandonment. Savarese writes with passion and humor, careful to include extensive excerpts from DJ's typing, so readers get a sense of his remarkable growth. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A controversial therapy for autism, facilitated communication (FC) first gained attention in the early 1990s but was discredited because of the indeterminable influence of the facilitator. It most commonly involves guiding the hands of an autistic person over a keyboard to help him/her type out messages. The father of a severely autistic teenage son, Savarese (literature, Grinnell Coll.) is a proponent of FC and offers a memoir both of his son's background and of his experience with the therapy. The best part of the book vividly chronicles the former--before being adopted, D.J. was abandoned by his birth parents and suffered abuse in the foster care system. Savarese then explores D.J.'s development using FC and includes phrases and passages he typed (the potential interference of the facilitator is not easy to ignore when we see, e.g., D.J. referring to his visit to Rome as a "trip of a lifetime"). While Savarese shows the positive aspects of FC, he fails to demonstrate in-depth how that method could be used by parents and educators. Nevertheless, readers will find the elements documenting the foster care system worthwhile. Recommended for academic libraries with comprehensive disability collections.