Bookcover: Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism

Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism

vol. 3: Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Series

Dan E. Burns — author. 
  • Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference Book Manuscript Competition

August, 2009




25 b&w illus.




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About Burns's Saving Ben

Each year thousands of children are diagnosed with autism, a devastating neurological disorder that profoundly affects a person’s language and social development. Saving Ben is the story of one family coping with autism, told from the viewpoint of a father struggling to understand his son’s strange behavior and rescue him from a downward spiral.

Take him home, love him, and save your money for his institutionalization when he turns twenty-one. That was the best advice his doctor could offer in 1990 when three-year-old Ben was diagnosed with autism. Saving Ben tells the story of Ben’s regression as an infant into the world of autism and his journey toward recovery as a young adult. His father, Dan Burns, puts the reader in the passenger’s seat as he struggles with medical service providers, the school system, extended family, and his own limitations in his efforts to pull Ben out of his darkening world.

Ben, now 21 years old, is a work in progress. The full force and fury of the autism storm have passed. Using new biomedical treatments, repair work is underway. Saving Ben is a story of Ben’s journey toward recovery, and a family’s story of loss, grief, and healing. Keep the faith, never give up. These are the lessons of the author’s miraculous journey, saving Ben.

“Saving Ben is a haunting tale, so powerfully told that readers will find it practically crawls under their skin as they flip the pages. The story is told through the sensibility of a father searching for clues in a public library that might help him understand the nature of his son’s strange behavior. Answers don’t come easily. It will take years for the father, distracted by grief and denial, to see his son as his darling scarecrow, a never-ending work in progress, but also a gift. This is no ordinary journey, with no neat and tidy resolution. It’s the story of Benjamin’s downward spiral into a world not well suited to deal with him. Only a father who grew to love his son unconditionally, a father who was willing to sacrifice all for his son’s sake, could save him.” —George Getschow, Writer-in-Residence of the Mayborn Conference, University of North Texas

“This is a significant work to help inform parents of autistic children. Dan Burns shows he is a pioneer in his struggle to recover his son.” —Dr. Constantine Kotsanis, Wellness Metabolic Institute

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 FEAT, a support group for parents, and pioneered educational and medical interventions. In 2006, Dan and his former wife Susan joined forces to implement the new biomedical treatments coming out of the Defeat Autism Now! movement, including Applied Behavioral Analysis, sensory integration, megavitamin therapy, and detoxification. Dan and Ben live in Dallas, Texas.

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