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Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism (Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Series) Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1574412697 ISBN-10: 1574412698 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press; First Edition edition (August 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574412698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574412697
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Saving Ben is a haunting tale, so powerfully told that readers will find it practically crawls under their skin as they flip the pages.”—George Getschow, writer-in-residence of the Mayborn Conference, University of North Texas



 "Saving Ben is a wonderful read that will make parents look at their own children, disabled or not, and find so much to cherish.” J. N. -  PEOPLE Magazine, September 14, 2009



 "Saving Ben is a haunting tale, so powerfully told that readers will find it practically crawls under their skin as they flip the pages."—George Getschow, writer-in-residence of the Mayborn Conference, University of North Texas
(George Getschow writer-in-residence of the Mayborn Conference, University of North Texas )

About the Author

DAN E. BURNS, Ph.D., graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1979 and taught English at Southern Methodist University, University of Texas at Arlington, and University of Phoenix, publishing in numerous scholarly journals. In 1990 his third child, Benjamin, was diagnosed with autism. Dan helped organize a Dallas chapter of Families for Early Autism Treatment, a support group for parents, and pioneered educational and medical interventions. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

More About the Author

Dan E. Burns, Ph.D., graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1979. In 1990 his third child, Benjamin, was diagnosed with autism. Dan and his wife, Susan, explored early biomedical and behavioral treatments. In 1992 the couple divorced and Dan became the primary advocate for his severely autistic, profoundly retarded son. In 2006, Dan and his former wife joined forces to implement the new biomedical protocols coming out of the Defeat Autism Now! conferences, including diet, antifungals, antivirals, anti-inflammatories, nutritional support, and detoxification. Dan, Susan, and Ben live in Dallas Texas.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I found the book to be a terrific read.
Jean E. Pouliot
Powerful and inspirational, Saving Ben is the story of one father's journey to hell to rescue his son from the grips of autism.
Nancy A. Master
Saving Ben is a hopeful and insightful book about what it is like to raise a son with autism.
Robert G Yokoyama

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Jaskiewicz on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Among parents of children with autism, in whatever form, there is a cliché: "If you have seen one child with autism, you have seen one child with autism." Its appearance and therapies will differ so much from child to child, that it is impossible to generalize from something that worked for one family to have confidence that it will work for you. Every child is different, and requires individualized care.

I mention that background because my own experience as the parent of a child with autism has been very different from what Dan Burns describes so eloquently in Saving Ben. Nonetheless, the challenges he and his family faced were very familiar from my own life, and that of my family:

* Overcoming low expectations from teachers, despite a parent's belief in his child's abilities, and desire to give the child real challenges and goals at school.

* Different perspectives between the child's father and mother (much less other relatives without the first hand experience of living with autism) on how aggressively to provide therapy, and the stresses that difference creates in the family.

* Confusion about the appropriate therapies, when each doctor and/or therapist recommends something different, often at great cost, with no immediate "ah-ha" moment revealing what works (or does not). For me, this was especially true when my son was first diagnosed, and I did not know enough to filter the real from the charlatans.

* Constant disruption of plans, from the short term to career goals.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By PT Cruiser TOP 50 REVIEWER on September 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Saving Ben isn't your typical story about a child with autism. Ben's father is very open and honest in his story about how his family deals with with an autistic child. Their lives seem to spin out of control at times. Ben's mom, Sue, has recalled through therapy that she was abused as a child, and has developed her own mental problems in order to deal with that. Their marriage breaks up as a result the fact that the author is gay. Combine that with job losses, eviction from his home at one point, and Ben's now out-of-control condition and you have a situation that would cause most people to just give up. When Ben was diagnosed at three years, even the doctor told him to, "Take him home, love him, and save your money for his institutionalization when he turns twenty-one."

But Dan Burns didn't give up. He read everything he could find on autism and talked to doctors across the country, weighing the different opinions and treatment options for his son and the all-too-few alternative approaches available. He enrolled him in different schools and fought with the local school system for a proper and relevant education for his son in which he could actually learn something. He was finally able to secure 40 hour per week conditioning classes that slowly but surely produced results. It seems like the schools don't know how to teach these kids and with all the other life disruptions, not all of this happened right away, Ben was around seven when he finally got the type of training that worked for him.

Now, at 21, some of the worst aspects of the condition are in the past. Ben is still learning and working and improving. But he can take bike rides with his dad and can understand simple commands and maybe more than everyone realizes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Hutcheson TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The author writes a poignant, well-written account of his life as a gay man, married and the father of an autistic child. When told by doctors to save his money to pay for institutional care down the road, the fighter dad begins his war with the disease and with prejudice. He studies and learns all he can. He fights for his son's life. This is not a sweet story. It's written the way life is --- messy.

The author not only finds his son but himself as well. Moreover, he discusses his wife and her experience with child abuse. He talks about dealing with the inordinate stress in this terrible situation.

It is wonderful to see this sort of deep father's love and to discover life through his very special eyes. This is a powerful, dynamic book and I highly recommend it.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara VINE VOICE on November 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This memoir tells of Ben, a boy (now man) with autism, and his father's struggles to get him the help he needs to progress and grow. The father, Dan Burns, is a fierce and caring advocate for his son, and this love shows through. He does everything he can to help Ben. I appreciate the honesty in the writing. Ben makes what some might consider to be little progress over the years, but I am sure he has made much more than he would have without his father's help.

The biggest issue with this book is it's just about too many topics. There is material for 5 books here, but this is just one book. Dan talks about his son's autism, of course, but also about his own homosexuality and his journey to acceptance of it, his wife's mental illness, his job struggles, his extended family---all kinds of topics. This doesn't leave room or focus in a book of this length to really tell the main story. At times, it seems left behind, and there are sudden jumps in the narrative that are disconcerting.

I think this book does deserve readers. We parents with autistic kids or adults are not all polished writers. We don't all live lives that can lead to a laser focus on our child's recovery. But we all share a love for our children, and we all need to hear each other's stories.
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