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Nationally recognized autism experts to appear on campus to discuss their NY Times best-selling book
Posted 03/21/2017 09:20AM

The Autism Center at Misericordia University, in collaboration with Geisinger Health System, is sponsoring a special presentation on Tuesday, March 28 by authors and journalists John Donvan and Caren Zucker – two of the most recognized experts on autism in the country. The event begins at 7 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall.

Together they co-wrote the critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling book, "In a Different Key: The Story of Autism.'' The presentation is free and open to the public, but due to limited seating tickets are required. To reserve your tickets, please contact Judy Weintraub at or (570) 674-6371.

Immediately after the program, the authors will hold a book signing event. All proceeds from the sale of their book will benefit the Autism Center at Misericordia University. Earlier in the day, Donvan and Zucker will hold a special session for students at Misericordia University.

"This is not a how-to-guide or a polemic on neurodiversity,'' wrote Amy Bloom of O, The Oprah Magazine, in a review. "The book probes a difficult subject with intelligence and compassion – and makes you think. The complete absence of hysteria will make it essential reading for many ... its insights and quiet wisdom demand our attention, and gratitude.''

In its review, the Wall Street Journal wrote: "'In a Different Key: The Story of Autism' tells a riveting tale about how a seemingly rare childhood disorder became a salient fixture in our cultural landscape. It features vivid portraits of people with autism and their devoted parents and recounts dramatic controversies among well-intentioned and occasionally misguided advocates and doctors who have tried to help those with the condition.''

A correspondent for "ABC News," and host and moderator of "Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates" (, Donvan also has anchored ABC's "Nightline," served as chief White House correspondent, and held multi-year assignments in London, Moscow, Jerusalem and Amman, Jordan, during his journalism career. He is the winner of three Emmys and the Overseas Press Club Award.

Donvan became interested in autism's impact on families upon meeting his wife, the physician and medical school professor Ranit Mishori, who grew up in Israel with a brother profoundly affected by autism. Donvan and his wife have two children.

Zucker is a journalist and television producer who has reported on a broad range of subjects both domestically and internationally, including economic summits, presidential campaigns, social trends, and the Olympic Games. As a producer for ABC's "World News" and "Nightline," she worked alongside notable broadcast journalists Peter Jennings, Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer. Emmy-nominated, she was honored for her part in ABC's coverage of 9/11 with two of television's most prestigious prizes, the Peabody and the Alfred L. DuPont awards.

Her oldest son Mickey's autism diagnosis inspired her to bring a better understanding of autism's realities to the public. Zucker and her husband, NBC Sports executive John McGuinness, have three children.

Donvan and Zucker have been collaborating on stories about autism since 2000. At ABC, they created the pioneering series "Echoes of Autism,'' the first regular feature segment in network news devoted to understanding the lives of individuals and families living with autism. Their 2010 article in The Atlantic, "Autism's First Child,'' was shortlisted for the National Magazine Award and appeared in the paperback anthology Best Magazine Writing of 2011.Zuker also produced the series, "Autism Now,'' for PBS "Newshour."

As two journalists with a personal connection to autism, they aim to inspire acceptance of and support for people on the spectrum by telling their stories with honesty and compassion.

"The Autism Center and Geisinger Health System are pleased to be able to present two notable professionals who have been at the forefront of raising awareness for autism spectrum disorder for many years,'' said Leamor Kahanov, Ed.D., A.T.C., L.A.T., dean of the College of Health Sciences and Education at Misericordia University. "It has been my experience that few people have not been touched by autism's long arms. It is through programs such as this that our Autism Center and its collaborative relationships work together to remain at the forefront of developments in care for the betterment of the autism community.''

Established in 2015, the Autism Center serves as a resource for clinicians, practitioners, caregivers, and students majoring in the health and medical science fields at Misericordia University. A community resource, and educational and research entity, the center utilizes its collaborative relationships, synergies and faculty expertise to provide clinical services and educational camps on campus, while also being a repository for current best-practice treatments, community sources and more.

The College of Health Sciences and Education also recently introduced a post-graduate and post-credentialed online certification program in Autism Spectrum Disorders for health care providers. The academic program in the Department of Health Sciences prepares health care professionals in the fields of nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, speech-language pathology and more to work with clients who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. For more information, please go online to

For more information about the Autism Center at Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6400 or log on to

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