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Some Kind of Genius: The Extraordinary Journey of Musical Savant Tony DeBlois
by Janice DeBlois and Antonia Felix

Published by Rodale

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Born weighing less than two pounds, and with blindness and other physical and developmental challenges to contend with from the start, Tony DeBlois seemed destined for a life of quiet struggle. And yet, long before Tony was diagnosed as autistic at the age of five, his mother, Janice, had vowed to ignore conventional "wisdom" and instead help her son explore his own innate abilities. Hoping to engage two-year-old Tony with his surroundings, Janice bought a toy piano at a garage sale and put it in Tony's room. For six weeks he put every combination of notes together. Then one day Janice distinctly heard the opening strains of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Her faith in Tony's musical gift has never wavered since. Through courtroom battles and classroom battles waged to win rights for Tony and other disabled students, including Tony's brother, Ray, who has Asperger's syndrome, Janice nurtured and encouraged her special-needs sons to grow their unique talents.

Tony found his voice: He went on to graduate with honors from the Berklee College of Music, and today he knows more than eight thousand songs and can play at least twenty instruments. Still, his is no ordinary success story. Tony is a savant, with a narrow but deep mastery of music. Experts in this fascinating neurological phenomenon say that Tony is especially remarkable because his ability to improvise is exceptional even among savants.

With its compelling mix of brain science, Erin Brockovich-style drama, and inspiring personal achievement, Some Kind of Genius will hold special appeal for all who have seen Tony on the Today show or Entertainment Tonight; watched the Lifetime movie based on his life, Journey of the Heart; heard him in concert; or read about him in Dr. Darold Treffert's book, Extraordinary People.

pub date: 2005-10-07 | hardcover | 9781594862731