After her second MMR vaccine, three-year-old Lina lost her ability to play, use language, and control her impulses. Her mother Helena Hjalmarsson immediately embarked on a mission to find a diagnosis and treatment for her daughter, a quest that narrator Jenna Berk performs with empathy and authenticity. Berk movingly evokes Hjalmarsson's emotional highs and lows as she tries special schools, diets, therapy sessions, and more, all to find out what helps Lina and what doesn't. Berk's performance is especially radiant when her voice expresses the joy in Hjalmarsson's moments of connection with her daughter, and listeners will come away with an appreciation for Hjalmarsson's strength and courage.
An honest and inspiring story of one mother’s quest to help her daughter with autism learn to engage with the world around her.
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.