Helena Hjalmarsson’s painfully honest, gritty account of raising her autistic daughter will inspire and inform parents everywhere—whether they have a special needs child or not. I am pleased to be highlighting Finding Lina: A Mother’s Journey from Autism to Hope (Skyhorse Publishing, September 2013), in which Helena masterfully captures the raw struggle, the indelible feeling of isolation, and the fear that accompanied her daughter’s descent into autism.
“The author’s positive, optimistic attitude and her thorough descriptions of therapies will be helpful to the parents and caretakers of autistic children.”
“[Hjalmarsson] certainly has much to teach . . . but her biggest lesson is helpful for all parents: we must not ‘get so ambitious in our quest to cure what we consider unacceptable that we forget to listen and be present.’”
“A passionate book for special-needs families.”
The author deftly captures that gnawing sense of isolation well-known by parents caring for a disabled child, and she is brutally honest: at one point, she recounts hiding from her daughter in the basement and then fleeing from her again into the backyard.
Yet even when each day seemed dictated by the neurological vagaries of her child, Helena persevered. In the end, she emerges with grace: “I have no big revelations to share about autism or any other childhood condition,” she writes. What she does offer is a story that helps parents to create meaningful lives for their children (and themselves), and to battle the incessant urge to cure in favor of living in the moment.
Lina is now ten, and her parents continue to search for treatment. Their story will open the hearts and minds of all parents, whether they have a child with autism or not.