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The incredibly moving and inspiring story about a quest to finally be heard.
In Underestimated: An Autism Miracle, Generation Rescue’s cofounder J.B. Handley and his teenage son Jamison tell the remarkable story of Jamison’s journey to find a method of communication that allowed him to show the world that he was a brilliant, wise, generous, and complex individual who had been misunderstood and underestimated by everyone in his life.
Jamison’s emergence at the age of seventeen from his self-described “prison of silence” took place over a profoundly emotional and dramatic twelve-month period that is retold from his father’s perspective. The book reads like a spy thriller while allowing the reader to share in the complex emotions of both exhilaration and anguish that accompany Jamison’s journey for him and his family. Once Jamison’s extraordinary story has been told, Jamison takes over the narrative to share the story from his perspective, allowing the world to hear from someone who many had dismissed and cast aside as incapable.
Jamison’s remarkable transformation challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding autism, a disability impacting 1 in 36 Americans. Many scientists still consider nonspeakers with autism—a full 40 percent of those on the autism spectrum—to be “mentally retarded.” Is it possible that the experts are wrong about several million people? Are all the nonspeakers like Jamison?
Underestimated: An Autism Miracle will touch your heart, inspire you, remind you of the power of love, and ultimately leave you asking tough questions about how many more Jamisons might be waiting for their chance to be freed from their prison of silence, too. And, for the millions of parents of children with autism, the book offers a detailed description of a communication method that may give millions of people with autism back their voice.
About the Author
J.B. Handley is the best-selling author of How to End the Autism Epidemic. Together with his wife Lisa, he founded Generation Rescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to autism recovery. He and his wife also produced the documentary film Autism Yesterday. J.B. founded Swander Pace Capital, a middle-market private equity firm with more than $1.5 billion under management where he served as managing director for two decades. He is an honors graduate of Stanford University and lives in Portland, Oregon, with Lisa and their three children.
Jamison Handley is an eighteen-year-old nonspeaker who was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. Thanks to a new communication method called Spelling to Communicate, Jamison is now able to fully communicate and switched from a “life skills” classroom to a regular academic classroom at his high school and will be graduating in 2022. He plans to attend college and study neuroscience. Jamison hopes to inspire others with his story and dedicate his life to advocating for the rights of all nonspeakers. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his family.
“The Handley family’s mission to save their son, Jamie, is the greatest love story ever told. The power of love, determination and strength creates yet another paradigm shift in autism therapies that will affect the masses on a global scale. Jamie Handley is a real-life superhero and his story brings hope to all of humanity. Life, for many, will never be the same after reading this book. Thank you JB, Jamie, and the whole Handley family for sharing your miraculous journey.” —Jenny McCarthy, author of Louder Than Words; coauthor of Healing and Preventing Autism
“I’m both dumbstruck by and grateful for the dogged determination of Jamison Handley and his loving family. With this book he shows the world that a debilitated, nonspeaking youth severely disabled by full blown autism can transform into a gifted and wry individual with humor and wisdom to share with the world. This book is at once an exhilarating joyride and a pointed critique of the catastrophic failures of the mainstream mental health orthodoxies. Jamison, the trailblazer, shows the world that nonspeakers with autism have extraordinary potential and cognitive gifts. Millions more like Jamison are awaiting their chance to be heard.” —Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., author of American Values: Lessons I Learned from My Family, Crimes Against Nature, and The Riverkeepers
“A breathtaking story of one family’s fight to overcome adversity. Get out your handkerchiefs. It’s impossible to read this book without crying happy tears." —Jennifer Margulis, PhD, author of Your Baby, Your Way and coauthor of the #1 Amazon bestseller, The Vaccine-Friendly Plan (with Paul Thomas, MD)
“Jamison’s journey is the most powerful testimony of God’s grace. As a parent of an autistic adult this book above all books teaches us the most valuable lesson—they are brilliant, they understand, they feel, they hurt, they are human beings, and given a chance—this chance—they will contribute to society in a way we never believed possible.” —Polly Tommey, founder, Autism Media Channel; author of Autism: A Practical Guide to Improving Your Child’s Quality of Life
"The world has a new hero, and his name is Jamie Handley. If you want your heart to be touched, your mind blown, and your view of the possible to be forever changed, this is the book for you. Read it and get to work making the world a better place." —Kent Heckenlively, coauthor of Plague of Corruption; author of Inoculated: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism
“The Handleys thought they'd exhausted every option to help their son speak. Then they discovered that Jamie's communication was intact but trapped—until a method called S2C opened the flood gates of his social, emotional and academic prowess. Underestimated: An Autism Miracle will help bring this life-changing communication method into the forefront of treatment options.” —Kim Rossi, author of All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa
“I had the honor and privilege of reading an advanced copy of Underestimated. I didn't think anything could make me forget about the current chaos we are living in—but this book, this journey, did. In fact, this book puts everything in perspective. There is nothing more important than our children. Beginning in December 2019, when the rest of the world was beginning to lock down, Jamison "Jamie" Handley began the journey of being unlocked. While fear and hiding and anxiety swept the world, Jamie stepped into a world of joy and communication and freedom for the first time in his life. I read the book in one sitting, with tears rolling and grinning ear-to-ear. This book is about love, and hope, and kindness, and forgiveness. It is about never giving up on anyone and treating everyone with respect and kindness. Right now, half of the US thinks the other half is crazy. But we are judging each other with a wall between us, trapped inside our own perspectives. We cannot hear each other. We cannot hear or see the love and hopes and intelligence in others with different perspectives and it is causing raging meltdowns. The inability to communicate and to feel understood is the most frustrating emotion there is. We look at "others" and don't understand them and so label them crazy, stupid, dangerous. The world judged Jamie Handley with labels, too. Retarded, cognitively impaired, low-functioning, volatile. But he was just a boy with a brilliant mind, a loving heart, understanding everything—everything—happening around him and unable to say so. Until now. This book is not just the journey of one young man, it is a guidebook on how to be hopeful and decent humans, not labeling each other but always seeking ways to communicate." —Bernadette Pajer, author of Professor Bradshaw Mysteries
"When a child is unable to speak, it is easy to assume that he or she lacks the capacity to think in terms of language. Jamie Handley has shown the world that this is a false assumption. This book reveals a stunning intellectual capacity hiding in a mind that is disabled only in the ability to transfer the language code to the articulators of the mouth. The book is also a heartfelt story of a family that would not give up on a child who appeared to be severely disabled, and the devotion of certain special education professionals who believed in Jamie and believed in the controversial and unusual program he adopted. What is mind-boggling is to think of all the other Jamie Handleys stuck in an institution somewhere, forgotten by society but able to think deep thoughts and share them with the world, when provided with proper tools that can allow them to communicate nonverbally.” —Stephanie Seneff, senior research scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory