LET ME HEAR YOUR VOICE by Catherine Maurice

LET ME HEAR YOUR VOICE

A Family's Triumph Over Autism

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A vivid and uplifting story of how a family pulled not one but two children out of the torments of autism--and into a normal life. Maurice is the pseudonym for a mother of three whose courage and determination overrode the pessimistic prognosis that ``autism is incurable.'' She was already pregnant with her third child when her one-year-old daughter, Anne-Marie, was diagnosed as autistic. Maurice and her husband cast about to find not merely a relief from symptoms but a cure, finally adopting the form of behavior modification found successful in carefully controlled studies by O. Ivar Lovaas, a California-based researcher. The program involved a daily regimen of repetitious training, the resetting of patterns of behavior that had gone awry, and the replacement of sympathy by discipline, interrupting the child's repetitive motions and self- withdrawal no matter how she resisted or cried. The family hired a teacher skilled in behavior modification who worked with Anne-Marie every day, as well as a speech therapist who visited three times a week. To counter what she at first felt were the mechanistic techniques of behavior modification, Maurice also took up ``holding therapy,'' which calls for holding the child tightly for at least an hour a day. It was the behavioral techniques that succeeded, and, in less than two years, the girl was pronounced ``normal''--as was Maurice's younger son, also autistic. Unlike other recent books about children who've recovered from autism (e.g., Donna Williams's Nobody Nowhere, 1992), this offers not only hope but a road map, with names, addresses, and phone numbers for Lovaas and others. (Caveat: Behavioral therapy, Maurice says, benefits measureably only about 50% of autistic kids.) Powerful in her detailing and in her intelligent, honest observations, Maurice offers new strength to parents who refuse to give up on their autistic children.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-40863-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993




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