Since the moment I began to wonder what was going on with Alex, I’ve been reporting this book. I just didn’t know it right away. As time went by, I realized that though I might wish it were otherwise, I had a front-row seat to a fascinating scientific and cultural development. It wasn’t easy to decide to write about something so personal, but in the end I felt the story was too important not to write about.
In addition to being Alex’s mother, I had twenty years experience as a writer and editor and had already written a book about science. Once I decided to tell our story, I was able to interview the world’s experts on language development, inventors of ground-breaking technology, Deaf leaders, and neuroscientists at the frontiers of brain plasticity research to uncover insights from studies of everything from at risk kids in Head Start to noisy cocktail party conversation, from songbirds to signal processing, and from the invention of the telephone to the origins of sign language. The eagerness with which most of them helped convinced me even more of the power of the story and of the need for this book.