The Children of Raquette Lake: One Summer That Helped Change the Course of Treatment for Autism is an inspiring account of author Mira Rothenberg’s experience with eleven autistic and schizophrenic children during the summer of 1958. In order to avoid the regression that often occurred during the summer months, Rothenberg, a trained psychologist, and her colleagues Zev Spanier and Tev Goldsman, decided to bring their young patients to a camp in Raquette Lake, located in the Adirondack region of Northern New York.
As Rothenberg explains, this was a time when severely disturbed children were considered untreatable and often sent to live out their lives in institutions where their needs were neglected and ignored. Many of Rothenberg’s patients exhibited signs of abuse and emotional trauma. On the island, Rothenberg, Spanier, and Goldsman discovered that by applying what was then an unconventional treatment of loving care and tolerance, their young patients improved and were able to heal many of the emotional and physical issues associated with their conditions. Written like a narrative journal that follows the children’s progress from week to week, The Children of Raquette Lake is interwoven with personal histories and fascinating case stories that demonstrate the healing power of the human heart. The book also provides a valuable list of resources for therapists and parents of autistic children.