Finding Ben: A mother’s journey through the maze of Asperger’s
By Barbara La Salle. McGrawHill, 2003. ISBN: 007140225X.
From the publisher:
Ben was an extraordinary child who became an extraordinary man. Born with an encyclopedic mind, he was able to store volumes of information, like a mini-computer. Yet lurking behind this boy genius’s amazing gifts for facts were threatening, mysterious problems: failure to develop friendships, fear of change, a pedantic, monotonous tone of voice and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Though his mother was a family therapist, neither she nor his doctors knew what was wrong. It took twenty-five years to discover that Ben suffered from Asperger Syndrome, the “little grown-up” disorder, considered by many in the medical community to be a form of high-functioning Autism.
Searchingly honest and beautifully written, FINDING BEN is a remarkable story of a brilliant young boy’s inability to carry on reciprocal conversations, make eye contact, or distinguish between truth and fantasy. It is also the heart-rending account of a mother’s struggle to understand her child and to overcome the guilt she felt for not fully accepting him. Believing that the world would look at Ben and see her own failure, Barbara vacillated for years between frustration, despair, resentment, and shame.
Finding Ben has two stories to tell. It provides a fascinating look at the lonely and frightening world of the Asperger Syndrome child; it is also a candid first-person account of parental disappointment, one that will have meaning for all parents, whether their children have “special needs” or not.