Finding Lina

A Mother's Journey from Autism to Hope

LIST PRICE $16.99

About The Book

“Finding Lina is not only a mother's painfully honest account of coming to terms with her daughter's autism, but an offering of insight and new possibility to parents facing similar situations. This is a story that resonates beyond the specific illness, with a universality both heart-rending and inspiring.” —Dick Russell, New York Times bestselling author

Lina was a precocious toddler—charming, chatty, joyful. At the age of three, in the aftermath of her second MMR vaccine, first came a seizure, and then, to her parents’ horror, the loss of Lina’s ability to play, use language, and control her impulses. Over the next few years they continued to lose Lina. She communicated her acute discomfort by biting, screaming, hitting, laughing maniacally, and throwing violent tantrums. As a single mother, with the help of her ex-husband, Helena Hjalmarsson tirelessly pursued every possible avenue to find a diagnosis, and more importantly a treatment, for her daughter, and the search continues to this day. Lina is nine.

Special schools, restrictive diets, sensory stimulation, relationship-based therapy, gastrointestinal links, homeopathy, and allergy treatment are all explored in detail. Hjalmarsson finds out what helps Lina and what doesn’t. She introduces sign language to Lina. She engages in lengthy daily intensive one-on-one sessions. With the help of her ex, angelic babysitters, Lina’s exceptionally empathetic younger sister, and supportive friends, Hjalmarsson manages to create a meaningful life for Lina, and for herself—a life of love and transcendence.

Lina, for all her challenges, has much to teach, and Hjalmarsson is a receptive student: finding joy in moments of connection, learning to live in the present, taking nothing for granted, accepting what others find unbearable, and finding a strength and spiritual base for inspiration and healing.

Unflinchingly honest and courageous, Finding Lina will open the eyes and hearts and minds of all parents, whether they have a child with autism or not.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Skyhorse (May 3, 2016)
  • Length: 292 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781510704183

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Raves and Reviews

"In this honest memoir, Hjalmarsson (a psychoanalyst with a master’s degree in child development) conveys the frustrations and the triumphs of raising an autistic daughter. She also explains how a special-needs kid affects the rest of the family—in her case, her younger girl and her now ex-husband, Skyhorse publisher Tony Lyons. Until she was three, Lina (now nine), cheerfully played with friends. Then, after receiving her second MMR vaccine, she experienced a seizure and was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus. How that relates to Lina’s autism is left in question. Over the years, the family moves often, trying to find better neighborhoods and schools for Lina, whose behavior includes hitting, biting, peeing on the floor, and trying to run away. Strangers can be alarmingly judgmental and unsympathetic. The family tries everything, including acupuncture, herbal remedies, and dietary changes, while Hjalmarsson remains remarkably positive. 'She taught me to take life as it is,' she writes. 'She showed me how to be happy and laughing in the midst of sorrow and loss.' A passionate book for families with special-needs children." —Karen Springen, Booklist

“The author’s positive, optimistic attitude and her thorough descriptions of therapies will be helpful to the parents and caretakers of autistic children.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Finding Lina is an inspirational and brave story of Helena's journey to help her daughter. A positive reminder that we learn so much from our children and that each one shines in their own special way.” —Jenny McCarthy, author, activist, actress

“A remarkable journey: one mother charts her quest to help her daughter, informing other parents along the way so that they can benefit directly from her research. Finding Lina will help any parent with a child on the autism spectrum or with any other neuro-sensory condition.” —Rupert Isaacson, author of The Horse Boy

“Finding Lina is not only a mother's painfully honest account of coming to terms with her daughter's autism, but an offering of insight and new possibility to parents facing similar situations, This is a story that resonates beyond the specific illness, with a universality both heart-rending and inspiring.” —Dick Russell, New York Times bestselling author

“Finding Lina's charm is its laser focus on what it means to accept and be nourished by life's brutal realities—how deep connections require you to truly listen, rather than just to hear, and to keep looking, even when you can't see. This isn't a book about autism, this is a love story.” —Jeni Decker, author of I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames

“Finding Lina is a gritty, real, intense immersion into autism. You find yourself not as a distant reader but living in the minds and hearts of the parents and the unspeakable discomfort of trying to anticipate and hold the confusion of this problem. The book is a living testimony to overcoming in order to make the family whole and turning suffering into joy.” —Leslie Stein, author of Becoming Whole

“Plato said of the journey of life that 'the first and best victory is to conquer self.' Those of us with a child on the spectrum are instructed in this maxim. In Finding Lina, Hjalmarsson takes us on a journey of transformation with heart and honesty, applicable to not only the challenges of autism but to the trials life hands us all.” —Ken Siri, author of 1,001 Tips for the Parents of Autistic Boys and co-author of Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism)

“I love how Hjalmarsson completely dispels the theory of the 'refrigerator mother.' She also depicts with grace how she gathers and coordinates the army of people needed to support one special needs child. Hjalmarsson is an inspiration!” —Professor Gayle DeLong, Baruch College, City of University of New York

“This is a brave and honest book about the journey of one family to overcome the challenge of autism and to build a life of meaning for the child they love.” (Louis Conte, board member, Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy)

“Finding Lina is an honest and insightful account of a mother's terrifying and courageous odyssey searching for answers, and ultimately discovering solutions—all in the name of her precious daughter, Lina. For anyone who has been through a soul-shaking tragedy, Finding Lina is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Helena's unwavering determination demonstrates how one's love for a child can ignite a deep and powerful strength, capable of battling any beast—even autism.” —Mary Coyle, Homeopath and Director of the Real Child Center

“Finding Lina is a poignant narrative of a mother’s struggle to lovingly care for a daughter with severe health challenges. The book is at once heartwarming and heartrending, faithfully depicting the extraordinary world of autism parenting.” —Mary Holland, Co-founder, the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA), Co-editor, Vaccine Epidemic

"In this honest memoir, Hjalmarsson (a psychoanalyst with a master’s degree in child development) conveys the frustrations and the triumphs of raising an autistic daughter. She also explains how a special-needs kid affects the rest of the family—in her case, her younger girl and her now ex-husband, Skyhorse publisher Tony Lyons. Until she was three, Lina (now nine), cheerfully played with friends. Then, after receiving her second MMR vaccine, she experienced a seizure and was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus. How that relates to Lina’s autism is left in question. Over the years, the family moves often, trying to find better neighborhoods and schools for Lina, whose behavior includes hitting, biting, peeing on the floor, and trying to run away. Strangers can be alarmingly judgmental and unsympathetic. The family tries everything, including acupuncture, herbal remedies, and dietary changes, while Hjalmarsson remains remarkably positive. 'She taught me to take life as it is,' she writes. 'She showed me how to be happy and laughing in the midst of sorrow and loss.' A passionate book for families with special-needs children." —Karen Springen, Booklist

“The author’s positive, optimistic attitude and her thorough descriptions of therapies will be helpful to the parents and caretakers of autistic children.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Finding Lina is an inspirational and brave story of Helena's journey to help her daughter. A positive reminder that we learn so much from our children and that each one shines in their own special way.” —Jenny McCarthy, author, activist, actress

“A remarkable journey: one mother charts her quest to help her daughter, informing other parents along the way so that they can benefit directly from her research. Finding Lina will help any parent with a child on the autism spectrum or with any other neuro-sensory condition.” —Rupert Isaacson, author of The Horse Boy

“Finding Lina is not only a mother's painfully honest account of coming to terms with her daughter's autism, but an offering of insight and new possibility to parents facing similar situations, This is a story that resonates beyond the specific illness, with a universality both heart-rending and inspiring.” —Dick Russell, New York Times bestselling author

“Finding Lina's charm is its laser focus on what it means to accept and be nourished by life's brutal realities—how deep connections require you to truly listen, rather than just to hear, and to keep looking, even when you can't see. This isn't a book about autism, this is a love story.” —Jeni Decker, author of I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames

“Finding Lina is a gritty, real, intense immersion into autism. You find yourself not as a distant reader but living in the minds and hearts of the parents and the unspeakable discomfort of trying to anticipate and hold the confusion of this problem. The book is a living testimony to overcoming in order to make the family whole and turning suffering into joy.” —Leslie Stein, author of Becoming Whole

“Plato said of the journey of life that 'the first and best victory is to conquer self.' Those of us with a child on the spectrum are instructed in this maxim. In Finding Lina, Hjalmarsson takes us on a journey of transformation with heart and honesty, applicable to not only the challenges of autism but to the trials life hands us all.” —Ken Siri, author of 1,001 Tips for the Parents of Autistic Boys and co-author of Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism)

“I love how Hjalmarsson completely dispels the theory of the 'refrigerator mother.' She also depicts with grace how she gathers and coordinates the army of people needed to support one special needs child. Hjalmarsson is an inspiration!” —Professor Gayle DeLong, Baruch College, City of University of New York

“This is a brave and honest book about the journey of one family to overcome the challenge of autism and to build a life of meaning for the child they love.” (Louis Conte, board member, Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy)

“Finding Lina is an honest and insightful account of a mother's terrifying and courageous odyssey searching for answers, and ultimately discovering solutions—all in the name of her precious daughter, Lina. For anyone who has been through a soul-shaking tragedy, Finding Lina is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Helena's unwavering determination demonstrates how one's love for a child can ignite a deep and powerful strength, capable of battling any beast—even autism.” —Mary Coyle, Homeopath and Director of the Real Child Center

“Finding Lina is a poignant narrative of a mother’s struggle to lovingly care for a daughter with severe health challenges. The book is at once heartwarming and heartrending, faithfully depicting the extraordinary world of autism parenting.” —Mary Holland, Co-founder, the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA), Co-editor, Vaccine Epidemic

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