Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Portia Iversen's Long-Awaited Book Due Out in January

September 10, 2007

Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and The Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism is Cure Autism Now co-founder Portia Iversen's long-awaited book. It takes the reader through the history of CAN, the revelation of her nonverbal son's personality and the implications this process had on the scientific community's understanding of autism.

The volume was published by Riverhead Books on January 2, 2007. Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is voicing the audio book as a tribute to her dear friend Portia and to Dov, whom she has known since his birth.

Portia Iversen was an award-winning art director and television writer prior to her son Dov's autism diagnosis at age 2. When she and her husband, Cure Autism Now co-founder Jon Shestack, started the organization more than 11 years ago they sought to increase understanding of those affected by autism, to engage the scientific community in the search for a cure and to help their son connect with the world. When Portia heard about a severely affected nonverbal boy in India whose mother had taught him to read, write and communicate, she was intrigued and inspired. Under the auspices of Cure Autism Now, Portia brought Tito and Soma Mukhopadhyay to the United States. Soma's methods were unorthodox and her tools were simple—just a piece of cardboard with the alphabet written on it. Through her technique she gave Tito the ability to show that he read Wordsworth and People, wrote his own poetry and had an IQ of 185.

Tito and Soma offered an unprecedented window into autism; Dov and Portia worked side-by-side with them to show the world that there is a light inside those who struggle with the isolating disorder. Strange Son is the incredible tale of two mothers from opposite sides of the world who, united in their fierce determination to help their children, challenged everything society and the scientific community thought they knew about autism.

Portia Iversen is donating a portion of proceeds from Strange Son in support of Cure Autism Now's Innovative Technology for Autism (ITA) initiative. The book is in stores now. To order, visit Barnes & Noble, or If you place your order with Barnes & Noble via this link, an additional percentage will be donated to Cure Autism Now.