BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
A press release on Finding Ben states, “Everyone needs love and affection—no matter what. For any parent who has ever experienced disappointment in their child’s failures comes Barbara LaSalle’s Finding Ben: a Mother’s Journey through the Maze of Asperger’s.
Finding Ben is an honest portrait of parental love. Written in novel form, the book tells the story of what it is like to suffer from what the author calls ‘disappointed mother syndrome’ and the shame that goes along with it. This is an issue that resonates with all parents, not just the thousands who struggle with raising a child with developmental disabilities.”
Barbara tells the true story of her son’s struggle to get along in society, but it wasn’t until Ben reached the age of twenty-three that a label was put on his behavior—Asperger’s Syndrome. Hans Asperger found a pattern in the 1940’s to describe the condition, but it wasn’t until 1994 that it became official in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, IV-R, (DSM-IV).
Barbara states that some people think higher functioning people are better off than lower functioning people. That is not so. One cannot be successful in life without social skills. Children with Asperger’s are often in pain and lonely. Through writing the book with his mother, Ben found he was not alone. He established a website where he reaches people from all over the world–a form of therapy for Ben that nurtured healing.
Barbara’s book takes one through the heartbreak maze of Asperger’s—Ben’s lies, his experience in jail, his isolation, his institutionalized living, until one brave doctor put a label on his behavior.
Finding Ben is a profound, provocative book encapsulating a mother’s journey to find her son. The ups and downs, the heartbreak and misunderstanding of Asperger’s hits one in the heart. Through Barbara LaSalle’s writing the truth, she is able to discover and love her son. Ben’s introduction to each chapter intertwines Barbara’s wonderful prose. The book develops a deeper understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome.
I will forever carry in my memory a Fisher Price yellow school bus, Ben’s persons, three slices of American cheese, peas in the pod, Child’s Geography of the World, A Child’s History of the World and Barbara saying “But Ben, we’re in a real day now. This is a real day.”
If you have read this book, the Beanery Writers invite you to comment on it. Likewise, if you are a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, the Beanery Writers invite you to share some of your challenges and joys during the parenting experience. Post your comments in the box below.