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  Recommended Books

A Difference in the Family : Living With a Disabled Child
by Helen Featherstone
In this wise, compassionate account, Helen Featherstone, educator and mother of a severely disabled child, traces the long, often heartbreaking road toward acceptance of disability. Drawing on interviews with parents and professionals, published accounts, and her own personal experience, Featherstone discusses how parents and siblings cope with their feelings of fear, anger, guilt, and loneliness and explains what kind of support and understanding can be provided by doctors, therapists, and teachers. Anyone whose life is touched by a physical or mentally handicapped child will find in these pages reassurance and invaluable guidance.

Nobody's Perfect : Living and Growing With Children Who Have Special Needs
by Nancy B. Miller, J.C. Dieterle (Illustrator)

This innovative book's straightforward, easy-to-read chapters offer parents who have children with special needs a fresh, affirming perspective on the challenges of family life. Practical and nonjudgmental, this book guides parents through the process of adaptation. It describes specific strategies for success in balancing one's own life; developing a parenting partnership; and interacting with children, friends, relatives, professionals, and others. Candid, inspiring, and often humorous reflections of four mothers who are raising children with disabilities are included throughout. This book also provides an exceptionally sensitive portrayal of parenting and reaches across a wide range of special needs.
A Special Gift: a Devotional For Mothers Of Children With Unique Challenges
by Carrie T. Gruman-Trinkner
When a child who has special problems is born, Carrie Gruman-Trinkner insists that this little one is a wonderful gift from God—not in spite of those problems and differences, but because of them. She understands the struggles that parents of children with differences go through, but also says, "Rejoice. God has given you a precious and wondrous gift—one that will touch your heart forever." This book is written to express the needs of parents of older children as well as those who are just beginning their journey as the parent of a child that faces physical and development challenges.
In This Together
by Dawn Atkinson

Being the parent of a child with special needs is a powerful experience and an awesome responsibility. It can bend you or break you, but either way, it will change you.

It becomes a journey that you embark upon with your child. In the beginning, you will learn the true depths of your emotions; in the middle, when you think that your reserve of strength has been depleted, you will learn that you can draw strength from your child; as the journey continues, no matter the amount of your child’s limitations, you will learn that your child is the teacher and that you are the student. The lessons are sometimes subtle but are always profound.


In Time and With Love: Caring for the Special Needs Infant and Toddler
by Marilyn Segal, Roni Leiderman, Wendy Masi (Contributor)
From the author of the acclaimed Your Child At Play series, illustrated with over 100 photos, and based on the latest research, this entirely newly designed edition, gives parents of preterm and handicapped children from birth to preteen sensitive, practical advice on care and activities to enhance development. Written in a jargon-free, parent-friendly style, this generously illustrated book is filled with advice on nursing, feeding, dressing, interacting with siblings, discipline, and social skills development. Segal's warm, positive approach towards childrearing helps parents deal effectively with the particular issues of raising handicapped children, such as anger and favoritism, coping with advice from doctors, tough decision-making, and much more. A mother of a child with disabilities herself, the author offers an entire section on games and activities that can promote emotional development, encourage motor and language skills, and are just plain fun for parents and children alike. This new edition has been expanded to include advice on play and care for toddlers and older children.
From the Heart : On Being the Mother of a Child With Special Needs
by Jayne D. B. Marsh (Editor)
Nine mothers explore the intense, sometimes painful, emotional terrain of raising children with special needs in eye-opening narratives developed from their parent support group meetings. The children who shape these women's lives have disabilities that include autism, Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome, ADD, and multiple disabilities. From the Heart is organized around several themes: relationships with professionals; family life and school issues; and issues about the "self" and closest friends and family. Their experiences resonate with the common struggles of healing; being heard and understood; coping with life; and dealing with greater emotional intensity than most parents do. In revealing what is most important and most difficult for them, these mothers affirm the experience of other parents like themselves. From the Heart speaks to anyone who may know little about raising a child with special needs -- until they have one and must then forge a strong family unit nonetheless.
You Will Dream New Dreams : Inspiring Personal Stories by Parents of Children With Disabilities
by Stanley D. Klein, Kim Schive

Each year, 40,000 babies with disabilities are born, and another 80,000 children will develop a major developmental disability by the age of 10. Knowing that "parents' strongest allies will always be other parents," Klein and Schive have collected from all over the country stories by parents of children with special needs. You Will Dream New Dreams is a remarkable parent's support group in print. The shared narratives come from those with newly diagnosed children, adult disabled children, and everything in between; their stories are short and unfold in plain language just what the parent suffering from informational and emotional overload needs. These experiences offer hope and encouragement and serve as a reminder that there are others out there who can help. The appendix includes resources to help parents track down local information and support. Klein is a cofounder of Exceptional Parent magazine and Schive is an associate editor there, so one can assume that this book will get ample publicity from that publication, the one most read by the target audience. This one will be requested. Essential for all consumer health collections. KellyJo Houtz Griffin, Eatonville, WA
Special Kids Need Special Parents : A Resource for Parents of Children With Special Needs
by Judith Loseff Lavin

The label special needs applies to a tremendous range of children, from those with physical issues like spina bofida or deafness to mental or emotional differences like ADD or Down syndrome. While each of these difficulties comes with its own specific set of frustrations and delights, families with special needs children face many similar challenges: finding qualified child-care and therapy; dealing with the daily realities of teasing, pain, and hospitalizations; and the impact that these special needs can have on relationships between parents, siblings, and extended family. Various chapters attempt to cover the perspective of parent, child, and other siblings, and each chapter ends with a short list of important points. Behavioral and emotional topics are discussed first, including depression, grief, teasing, guilt, and techniques for encouraging appropriate behavior from your child, regardless of his special needs. Physical issues like chronic pain, hospitalization, and prosthetics are covered in later chapters, and with the understanding of emotional issues gained from the earlier parts of the book, readers will feel totally prepared to act as their child's advocate with teachers and doctors alike. The age of your children is irrelevant to the usefulness of this book--even if your child is already a teen, you'll find plenty of great advice in navigating the continual issues of those with special needs. --Jill Lightner
When Your Child Has a Disability: The Complete Sourcebook of Daily and Medical Care, Revised Edition
by Mark L. Your Child Has a Disability Batshaw (Editor)

The revised and expanded edition of this must-have guide is a proven resource for caregivers meeting the demands of raising a child with a disability. Readers will get updated, expert advice on a wide range of medical and educational issues, and detailed coverage of the daily and long term care requirements of specific disabilities. Answers to frequently asked questions follow the chapters to clearly address common parent concerns like behavior, medication, and potential complications. New and expanded chapters have been added to explore the latest care issues including prematurity, early intervention, legal rights, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, genetic syndromes, and changes in health. Not exclusively for caregivers, this guide is for anyone who seeks clear, user-friendly information for working with children with disabilities.
In the Shadow of Illness
by Mrua Bbluebond-Langner, Myra Bluebond-Langner

What is it like to live with a child who has a chronic, life-threatening disease? What impact does the illness have on well siblings in the family? Myra Bluebond-Langner suggests that understanding the impact of the illness lies not in identifying deficiencies in the lives of those affected, but in appreciating how family members carry on with their lives in the face of the disease's intrusion.

The Private Worlds of Dying Children, Bluebond-Langner's previous book, now considered a classic in the field, explored the world of terminally ill children. In her new book, she turns her attention to the lives of those who live in the shadow of chronic illness: the parents and well siblings of children who have cystic fibrosis. Through a series of narrative portraits, she draws us into the daily lives of nine families of children at different points in the natural history of the illness--from diagnosis through the terminal phase. In these portraits, as family members talk about their experiences in their own words, we see how parents, well siblings, and the ill children themselves struggle, in different ways, to contain the intrusion of the disease into their lives.

Bluebond-Langner looks at how parents adjust their priorities and their idea of what constitutes a normal life, how they try to balance the needs of other family members while caring for the ill child, and how they see the future. This context helps us understand how well siblings view the illness and how they relate to their ill sibling and parents. Since the issues raised are not unique to cystic fibrosis but are common to other chronic and life-threatening illnesses, this book will be of interest to all who study, care for, or live with the seriously ill.

Uncommon Fathers : Reflections on Raising a Child With a Disability
by Donald J. Meyer (Editor)

So many times in a family with special needs, the mom gets involved with taking care of the child and the other kids, and the dad gets left out. Dads have feelings too, and these fathers tell how they coped with having a special child.
The author of each essay has a child with special needs. Each has taken the time to express how the birth and life of his child has changed his life. These fathers are truly special. We all think that we could rise to the occasion and parent a child with special needs but these men are doing it and doing it better than I could ever hope to do myself. It's not too often that you read a book written by someone living through the experience who makes no attempt to get credit for what he's done.
Lucky Man: A Memoir
by Michael J. Fox

The same sharp intelligence and self-deprecating wit that made Michael J. Fox a star in the Family Ties TV series and Back to the Future make this a lot punchier than the usual up-from-illness celebrity memoir. Yes, he begins with the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the incurable illness that led to his retirement from Spin City (and acting) in 2000. And yes, he assures us he is a better, happier person now than he was before he was diagnosed. In Fox's case, you actually might believe it, because he then cheerfully exposes the insecurities and self-indulgences of his pre-Parkinson's life in a manner that makes them not glamorous but wincingly ordinary and of course very funny. ("As for the question, 'Does it bother you that maybe she just wants to sleep with you because you're a celebrity?' My answer to that one was, 'Ah... nope.'") With a working-class Canadian background, Fox has an unusually detached perspective on the madness of mass-media fame; his description of the tabloid feeding frenzy surrounding his 1988 wedding to Tracy Pollan, for example, manages to be both acid and matter-of-fact. He is frank but not maudlin about his drinking problem, and he refreshingly notes that getting sober did not automatically solve all his other problems. This readable, witty autobiography reminds you why it was generally a pleasure to watch Fox onscreen: he's a nice guy with an edge, and you don't have to feel embarrassed about liking him. --Wendy Smith
Special Children, Challenged Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Raising a Child With a Disability
by Robert A., Ph.D. Naseef

This important book is a must-have guide for any parent of a child with a disability as well as anyone who works with or cares for those families. Special Children, Challenged Parents shares the unique perspective of a father of a son with autism, with additional reflection from his perspective as a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with families of children with disabilities.
This moving book illustrates the impact that a child's disability has on the entire family. It is a valuable aid to parents dealing with fear, guilt, shame, sibling rivalry, marital strain, and other challenges. Though the author's personal experience is with autism, this book will be a valuable resource for families of children with a wide range of disabilities. Readers learn about resources, such as support groups, for working through complex emotions and about techniques for communicating effectively with professionals.
Special Children, Challenged Parents addresses issues of bonding between parent and child and presents strategies for dealing with challenging behavior. Additional chapters are devoted to special issues for the family of a child with a disability, including the relationship between the parents, the effect on siblings, and the needs of fathers, who the author feels often require special support to express and deal with their emotions in the challenging role of parent to a child with special needs. This book provides a unique and touching look at parenting and disability.
Susan Laughs
by Jeanne Willis, Tony Ross (illustrator)

Without being condescending or preachy, the words, pictures, and design of this very simple picture book show that a physically disabled child is "just like me, just like you." Only on the very last page do we discover that Susan uses a wheelchair. Before that, the simple, rhyming words and active crayon-and-pencil pictures show her in a succession of ordinary scenarios that every preschooler will recognize. Susan laughs. Susan sings. Susan's good. Susan's bad. She's mad. She's shy. She swims. She swings. She sulks. She's scared. The show and tell works. Children will enjoy seeing their common feelings and experiences. They'll be surprised by that wheelchair at the end; and then they'll accept their connection with the child who they've come to know is "just like me." Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Rolling Along With Goldilocks and the Three Bears
by Cindy Meyers, Carol Morgan (Illustrator)

This picture book is an adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the classic folktale retold with a special-needs twist. Children will find all of the familiar characters and scenes from the original story, as well as a few surprises-Baby Bear uses a wheelchair, goes to physical therapy while his porridge cools, and ultimately makes friends with Goldilocks. This new version is especially appealing to children with physical disabilities. It's also an entertaining tale for all children, with or without special needs.

About the Author
The author, Cindy Meyers, is a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), who specializes in pediatrics and works with children with physical disabilities, including kids who use wheelchairs. She wrote this story as a way to explain to her own young children what it's like to have a disability, as well as to provide a supportive story for children she works with. 
Natural Harmony : Jade's Story
by Gail Albrechtson

Frank, courageous, and deeply moving, Natural Harmony is the memoir of an endearing little girl named Jade, who was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Placed in foster care at birth, she was eventually reunited with her mother, who struggled against all odds to get the best for her child. While the story recounts many setbacks and disappointments, its heart is Jade herself, with all of her comical antics. Despite the formidable obstacles she faced at times, this child was able to elicit genuine, deep emotion from everyone who came into contact with her. Readers will be enlightened by Natural Harmony's universal life themes of frustration and coping, sadness and joy, loss and lasting love--and they will be touched irrevocably by this heartfelt re-creation of Jade's unique spirit.
Alex: The Life Of A Child
by Frank Deford

Alexandra Deford, a precious and precocious girl, was just eight years old when she died in 1980 following a battle against the debilitating effects of cystic fibrosis, the number-one genetic killer of children. Her poignant and uplifting story touched the hearts of millions when it was first published and then made into a memorable television movie. 

A new introduction contains information on the latest cystic fibrosis research, and a touching postscript reveals how the Deford family came to terms with the loss of Alex.


A Special Kind of Love: For Those Who Love Children With Special Needs
by Susan Titus Osborn, Janet Lynn Mitchell 

All children are special, but some children have special needs. Where do the parents of a "special-needs child" go for comfort? What other individuals do they know who share their daily struggles, while watching their child try to "fit" into a normal world? A Special Kind of Love: For Those Who Love Children with Special Needs is written for these moms, dads, grandparents, foster parents, and extended families who live with these children on a day-by-day basis. This book is also designed for teachers, doctors, social workers, friends of the family, and pastors who work with these children.
Special Parent, Special Child
by Tom Sullivan 

Parents of children with disabilities share their trials and discoveries with others, revealing their special struggles, their methods for overcoming problems, and their advice to others. Six families were chosen for presentation in order that their experiences could be presented in-depth: children's disabilities include blindness, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, and the parents' point of view is probed in depth.
This is a remarkably moving book with heartfelt revelations from families who have truly "been there". Anyone who has struggled with the issues of disability in their life will feel seen by this reading. Anyone who is friends of families with these challenges would be well advised to read this book and gain a deeper understanding of "how they do it" and the trials and triumphs within.
The Resilient Family: Living with Your Child's Illness or Disability
by Paul W. Power, Arthur E. Dell, Ph.D Orto, Arthur E. Dell Orto 

The Resilient Family: Living With Your Child's Illness Or Disability by rehabilitation counseling experts Paul W. Power & Arthur Dell Orto, is a practical, "reader friendly" instructional guide for families in crisis, addressing immediate and long-term problems, including the means to work with and overcome them. The Resilient Family expertly and accessibly addresses such issues as how to handle stress, the process of working with professionals, successful means of coping with crises, and more. The Resilient Family is a general yet highly useful resource for balancing both emotional and physical difficulties and especially recommended reading for families having children with long-term special needs.
Reflections from a Different Journey : What Adults with Disabilities Wish All Parents Knew (Hardcover)
by Stanley Klein, John Kemp 

Offers parents of children with disabilities inspiration and advice from those who've been there Reflections from a Different Journey presents 40 stories by successful adults who grew up with disabilities. They provide insights into what it is like to persevere in the face of community prejudices, and what it takes for families and children with disabilities to work together toward fulfillment. While there are many books for parents on raising a child with a disability, this is the first to help them learn from people with disabilities, and to help children face the unique challenges and rewards of growing up with a disability. Reflections from a Different Journey will also encourage and inspire older children and adults with disabilities, other family members, and education and health care professionals who serve these families.
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
by Harold S. Kushner

Rarely does a book come along that tackles a perennially difficult human issue with such clarity and intelligence. Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi facing his own child's fatal illness, deftly guides us through the inadequacies of the traditional answers to the problem of evil, then provides a uniquely practical and compassionate answer that has appealed to millions of readers across all religious creeds. Remarkable for its intensely relevant real-life examples and its fluid prose, this book cannot go unread by anyone who has ever been troubled by the question, "Why me?"

Check out this valuable source of information for parents of children with disabilities seeking information to assist them in caring for their family. See how your contemporaries deal with similar issues.

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.

Last Updated: August 02, 2006
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