Benjamin Breaking Barriers

Autism - A Journey of Hope

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
380 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2014
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Author Biography

Malva Freymuth Tarasewicz, D.M.A., writer and professional violinist, is first and foremost a mother; her son, Benjamin, has long been the focus of her creative energies. Now, Benjamin is a young adult with a talent for public speaking, and Malva has teamed up with him, creating presentations about living with autism which educate while also inspiring others to overcome their personal challenges. Malva and Benjamin maintain a blog that continues the life-story begun in the book; the blog carries the same title: Benjamin Breaking Barriers. To view a demo-video of Benjamin speaking, visit our YouTube channel, also under Benjamin Breaking Barriers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Benjamin Breaking Barriers: Autism - A Journey of Hope was written by Malva Freymuth Tarasewicz, Benjamin’s mother. In 1997, Malva realized something was wrong with her 2-year-old son, Benjamin. He no longer focused on her; at times his eyes looked empty. He stopped talking and seemed to withdraw into his own world. His hands flapped in circles when he was excited and often he rocked back and forth. Malva was not going to allow autism to steal her child from her. She and her husband made sacrifices to give Benjamin the help he needed, and that included living apart for several years. The therapies that helped Benjamin included eliminating processed foods, brushing his skin with a soft haired brush, and intracranial therapy. When Benjamin was tested for mercury toxicity, the results showed a high level of mercury in his system. It was impossible to know exactly how the metal got there. A chelating agent was used to remove the mercury from his body.

Benjamin Breaking Barriers by Malva Freymuth Tarasewicz offers hope to families where little hope has previously existed. She offers personal information and medical information. The writing style is personal. I felt as if I sat across a table from the author, enjoying a cup of tea as she shared her memories with me. While this book reads in a personal manner, it contains information that is invaluable to instructors and parents. One important point was the author’s willingness to seek information from others through books. I found this book inspiring and highly recommend it to others with an interest in autism.

Anna Stewart

“Full of deep emotion, raw edges, and heart-lifting moments…both a love story and a guidebook. At the heart is the relationship between mother and son and how the bond has given Benjamin wings to show the world who he is: a young man with autism who has built a life on his interests, passions, skills and—most of all—relationships. Get ready to fall in love!”
Anna Stewart—author of Mother Blessings: Honoring Women Becoming Mothers

Dr. Robert Melillo

“Truly inspiring and engaging. I recommend that any parent whose child has special needs or any professional who works with these families read this book. It will give them hope and perspective on what is possible.”
Dr. Robert Melillo—chiropractic neurologist and bestselling author of Disconnected Kids; Reconnected Kids; Autism: The Scientific Truth; co–founder Brain Balance Achievement Centers

Glenda Monash

“Benjamin Breaking Barriers touches the core. That the arts may bring forth speech and are expressive of the human being that playfully engages and learns, is this book’s discovery. That we make ourselves through art is its revelation. In her choice of artistic activities that bring forth Benjamin's personality and through which he develops his capacities, Malva works with that which is intrinsic to us as human beings, that human ground between play and discipline, the loving interest that awakens as it engages in what it discovers. This book breaks boundaries for us readers too.”
Glenda Monasch—eurythmy therapist and co-founder of Sound Circle Eurythmy

Terry Bradley, M.A.

“A gifted writer, a gifted parent, and a patient, caring mom. Others can learn and benefit from Malva’s experiences and considerable wisdom. She provides abundant examples of hope which show that many of the myths of autism can be challenged and even overcome. There are many distinctions that set giftedness and autism apart, but there are also many parallels, and Benjamin displays many of these commonalities. This "twice exceptionality", having areas of extreme strength and areas of extreme limitations, is often hard for others to accept and understand. Benjamin required much therapeutic intervention, but all children benefit from guidance, modeling, role playing, direct instruction, and self-reflection. All children need someone who believes in them. For the reader's benefit, various therapeutic practices are shared, along with explanations.”
Terry Bradley, M.A.— Gifted and Talented specialist, president-elect of the Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented

Rosalind Wiseman

“An inspirational, hopeful, and concrete roadmap for how parents can help children with autism to reach their full potential. It is also a testament to the perseverance and love of a parent who is determined to help her child come into his own.”
Rosalind Wiseman—New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes; Masterminds and Wingmen

Dr. Temple Grandin

“I really liked the way Benjamin was ‘stretched’ by his mother to achieve new things. Too many kids on the autism spectrum are over-protected. Fixations were directed into creative, useful activities.”
Temple Grandin—author of Thinking in Pictures and The Autistic Brain