Finding Ben : A Mother's Journey Through the Maze of Asperger's

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9780071402255: Finding Ben : A Mother's Journey Through the Maze of Asperger's

One mother's remarkable account of raising an Asperger's syndrome child

Ben seemed to be an extraordinary child.

Born with a superanalytical mind, he was able to store hordes of information like a minicomputer. Yet, lurking beneath this boy genius's amazing, albeit useless, gifts for facts were an extraordinary fear of change and social aloofness. Unknown to his mother, Barbara, until much later, Ben suffered from Asperger's syndrome--the "little grown-up" disorder--a neurobiological disease similar to autism. Frank, honest, and beautifully written, Finding Ben is a remarkably moving account of Barbara LaSalle's struggles to understand--and overcome--the guilt she feels for not fully loving her son.

Burdened with the belief that the world would look at her son and somehow see her own failure, Finding Ben is a powerfully honest narrative account of how a mother's love can turn over time into resentment for having to raise a special-needs child.

It is through LaSalle's special friendship with Jack, a man full of wisdom despite his debilitating brain aneurysm, that LaSalle is finally able to love her son--and herself--again. With two stories to tell, Finding Ben is both a fascinating look at a mercurial disease and a powerful story of one mother's personal journey from frustration and resentment to love and acceptance.

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From the Back Cover:

One mother's remarkable journey from resentment and guilt to unconditional love

Barbara LaSalle's first son, Ben, seemed to be an extraordinarily gifted child. For the first few years of his life, he amazed his mother with his brilliance and creativity, speaking in full sentences before age one and reading competently by age two. Yet lurking beneath this boy genius's amazing abilities were a crippling social aloofness and fear of change. Ben had an encyclopedic mind--he could memorize maps of big cities, storing information like a minicomputer--but his face and voice showed no emotion. Losing her child to his own inner world, LaSalle's joy of motherhood soon turned to misery, resentment, and guilt. For years, she remained unaware that Ben suffered from Asperger's Syndrome--the "little grownup" disorder--a neurological condition considered a high-functioning form of autism.

In this frank, emotionally written account, Barbara LaSalle reveals what it's really like to parent a child with a neurological disorder, communicating her son's unique perception of the world while describing her own struggle to love an "unpresentable" son. Burdened for many years with the fear that the world might look at Ben and somehow see her own failure, LaSalle is now able to delve deep into her own story, and Ben's, to tell the unvarnished truth, painting a powerfully honest portrait of how a mother's love can turn into bitterness at having to raise a special-needs child and how, by opening herself to the wisdom of others, she can at last learn to love her child--and herself--once again.

With two remarkable stories to tell, Finding Ben is both a fascinating look at a baffling neurological disorder and the profound story of one mother's personal journey from frustration and resentment to love and acceptance.

Extraordinary Praise for Finding Ben:

"[LaSalle's] story is one of human triumph over adversity and ignorance, and any parent of a child with Asperger's Syndrome will be able to hasten their exit from the maze of Asperger's by reading her superb book."
--Tony Attwood, Ph.D., Director, The Asperger's Syndrome Clinic

"Finding Ben is a moving account of one mother's journey. Interesting and including much valuable information, this important book will be of great interest to parents, professionals, and anyone interested in mental health."
--Fred R. Volkman, Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychology, and Pediatrics, Child Study Center, Yale University

"Barbara LaSalle certainly is not the first mother to feel inadequate as a parent coping with Asperger's Syndrome, but she may be the first to openly admit it, thereby teaching us all a meaningful lesson: while some answers can be found through an official diagnosis and label, others-perhaps those that are most important-have always been there waiting to be discovered."
--Barbara Kirby, Director of O.A.S.I.S. (Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support) (www.aspergersyndrome.org) and coauthor of The OASIS Guide to Asperger Syndrome

"A wise and sad and ultimately uplifting book which speaks eloquently to the often unexpected experiences of being a parent and loving a child."
--Perri Klass, M.D., author of Love and Modern Medicine

"Barbara LaSalle's new book about Asperger's, Finding Ben, beautifully chronicles her own journey to understand her son with the encyclopedic mind and distressingly separate world." -- Kevin Merida, The Washington Post

About the Author:

Barbara LaSalle, M.A., is a marriage and family therapist who runs a psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles. A tireless advocate for people with mental illness, she is a frequent lecturer, workshop leader, and documentary filmmaker whose films include It's Not All in Their Minds, Living with A.D.D., and What Happens When My Child Grows Up? This is her first book.

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