In A Different Key; The Story of Autism

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In A Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition–from the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it to the fierce debates among scientists over how to define and treat it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of the shift from an era when children were condemned to institutions to one in which a cadre of people with autism advocate for a new understanding of autism: as difference rather than disability.

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

This is a giant book! 670 pages long with 552 pages of actual reading material, this was a book that reminded me of something I would have been assigned to read in school. That being said, this book was so educational and so horrifying at the same time. I am a scientific girl with a scientific mind, but there are times when I read a book like this it strikes a chord in me and I realize all the terrible things that have been done in the name of science and it is incredibly sobering.

I am a newbie to the subject of autism, and I feel like I struggled with the book a little bit. It is a non-fiction novel though so I knew I would struggle from the start. I was always looking stuff up on the Internet to get a little bit more background on some subject matter. I think this book is for the advanced autism reader. A lot of interviewing went into writing this book and the author did a great job of it.

This solidified many ideas that I already had about autism, things that I had believed to be true just in my travels of life. It’s not a disease or disorder but a difference in person that you can observe about another. This story certainly illustrates that we have changed our way of thinking about autism on a scientific scale, but I personally have failed to see the progression of peoples thinking on the subject as a whole.

I do wish that the author had taken a little time to get the perspective of actual people with autism and not just parents/caregivers that have struggled with all the aspects of caring for a child with autism. There has to be grown adults out there on the spectrum living and breathing that would want their voice heard on the subject of living with it.

Also, I think that many of the arguments that are presented in the book are a little one sided, and would have appreciated some good solid research to either back up what the parents said or dispute it in a scholarly way.

This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest and fair review.



Post navigation


Sara is a book hobbit that lives in a house of all boys, located in the promised land. Books stack the walls to the ceiling in some places, and she just keeps adding more. She was raised on top of a mountain that is locked in the dead of winter ten months of the year. She wears a size eleven shoe and enjoys her chicken cooked on the BBQ grill. In addition to reading she enjoys pinning crafts on Pinterest that she will never make and watching movies about people with sad lives or documentaries about serial killers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *