"The Sound of a Miracle" focuses on author Stehli's relationships with her two daughters: Georgie, who is autistic, and Dotsie, who has leukemia, and her attempts to get effective treatments for both of them. Past attitudes toward autism are both shocking and interesting, usually blaming the mother for her ineffective parenting skills, and often demanding that autistic children be institutionalized. At one point in the book, Stehli is grocery shopping and reaches into her somewhat messy tote bag for her wallet. She is then reprimanded by a woman she barely knows, who implies that Stehli's own disorganization is responsible for her autistic daughter's problems. Sadly, such comments seemed to be typical, and the first half of the book shows Stehli's attempts to work through her grief, depression and guilt while the world around her continues to place the blame firmly in her corner. During this time, Stehli's marriage crumbles, her daughter Dotsie dies, and Georgie is placed in an instituion.
Eventually, Stehli remarries and she and her new husband travel to Europe, taking Geogie with them. It is there that Georgie undergoes auditory therapy, which apparently completely cures Georgie of all her autistic behaviors. At this point, the book switches gears and Stehli writes of her happy marriage and of Georgie's accomplishments, ending on a note of happiness and hope.
This report prepared by E. J. McDonald