Inside the Autistic Mind

A wealth of new brain research--and poignant testimony from people who have autism--is lifting the veil on this mysterious condition

STEVE LISS FOR TIME

PURE JOY: A child on a swing belies the stereotype of the autistic automaton.

The road to Hannah's mind opened a few days before her 13th birthday.

Her parents, therapists, nutritionists and teachers had spent years preparing the way. They had moved mountains to improve her sense of balance, her sensory perception and her overall health. They sent in truckloads of occupational and physical therapy and emotional support. But it wasn't until the fall of 2005 that traffic finally began to flow in the other direction. Hannah, whose speech was limited to snatches of songs, echoed dialogue and unintelligible utterances, is profoundly autistic, and doctors thought she was most likely retarded. But on that October...