Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Growing Up Different

When Andrew Solomon began researching deaf culture for an article in the ’90s, he had a shock of recognition: How some deaf people formed their identities reminded him of what he went through as a gay man. Most deaf people are born to hearing parents and most gay people born to straight ones—since they’re traits that aren’t directly inherited—and neither typically finds their community until adolescence or older. “Then a friend of mine had a child who was a dwarf, and listening to her experience, it was the same thing all over again,” Solomon said. “And I thought, if it’s happening in three places, I wonder where else is it happening?”
The answer lies in the award-winning author’s new book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity. Researching the tome took more than a decade and over 300 interviews, and in it, Solomon reveals how families who have children with everything from autism to schizophrenia to prodigious talent make sense of their new identities.

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