Strange Son was published in 2007 by Riverhead Press (Penguin Books). I wrote the book to describe the journey with my son Dov who is nonverbal and has profound autism and the miracle that occurred when he was 9 years old and began to communicate for the first time. Strange Son has been published in Hebrew, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, French, Polish, Dutch and Swedish.
Parents who wish to learn more about how to get a nonverbal person with autism to start communicating, click here.
NY Times book review can be found here.
Praise For STRANGE SON By Portia Iversen
“Love introduced two mothers, one who lived in India and the other in the United States. Their passion to seek health for their children, both afflicted by autism, brought the two women across continents and over oceans. Each stimulated the other with her fervor to find medical breakthroughs. Their story is exciting and uplifting. There is within Strange Son a sadness, but this in truth is a hopeful book. The mothers expect that medical research will find a solution for the cruelty of autism, and in Strange Son they show us that the lushness of family love continues to be the greatest therapy.”
— Maya Angelou
“Portia Iversen has used her eyes and ears to pierce the seemingly impenetrable armor of the autism puzzle, and Strange Son reflects the genius of her ability to observe and to listen, filing away in remarkable detail the life experiences of two boys who carry with them the essential clues for understanding the underlying disturbances in brain architecture and function that result in autism.”
— Pat Levitt, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
“Portia Iversen’s personal experience led her from life as the parent of an autistic son to a leader in changing our outlook on this disorder and exploring its underlying cause. This is the story of her journey.”
— John Mazziotta, M.D., Ph.D., chair, department of neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
“Faced with the challenging contradiction of great poetic gifts in a severely nonverbal autistic boy, Portia Iversen embarked on a passionate odyssey through science and scientists to unlock this ‘Rosetta stone of autism’ and to understand her own son, which led her to reframe autism as a profound mistiming of the senses. This is an important, beautifully written book that makes gripping reading.”
— Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D., Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
“Strange Son is a stunning book – at once passionate, provocative and profound. The power of this unique and compassionate story will restore hope to families and galvanize our scientific quest.”
— Peter C. Whybrow, M.D., 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. Strange Son challenges many of our beliefs about autism and is lasting proof that there can be so much more on the inside than what is revealed by the outside.”
— Bradley Whitford, actor
“I know one little boy with autism pretty well. He can’t tell me what he’s thinking, but when I look into his sparkly brown eyes, I know that he is in there and that he’s counting on us to help him get out. Portia Iversen’s Strange Son is a wake-up call to the world that there are many more of these children than anyone ever knew, and that we must try a lot harder to find a way to connect with them.”
— Anthony Edwards, actor