The Bottom Line
By Debbie Feit, with Heidi Feldman, M.D., Ph.D.; 256 pages. Subtitle: Real-World Advice on Making Sense of Your Child's Diagnosis; Being Your Child's Best Advocate; Helping Your Child -- and Your Family -- Cope
Pretty much everything you want to know about your child's speech and language problems is in here somewhere. A friendly, comprehensive resource, The Parent's Guide to Speech and Language Problems leads you from suspicions to diagnosis to therapy to school and insurance battles, with plenty of company from other parents along the way.
- Describes both the speech problems and what parents can do about them
- Includes information about school issues and IEPs
- Gives great advice for getting speech therapy covered by insurance
- Quotes from parents throughout share a variety of experiences
- Engaging and personal writing makes a sometimes confusing subject comprehensible
- Offers a little on a lot of subjects rather than an in-depth look at any one
- Presents a parent's viewpoint more than a professional's
- May make the job of parenting a speech-impaired child seem overwhelming
- Not all topics will apply to all children with language problems -- feel free to browse and choose
- Chap. 1: My Child Doesn't Have a Problem ... Does He?: Coming to Terms With Your Concerns
- Chap. 2: Wait Is a Four-Letter Word: The Importance of Early Intervention
- Chap. 3: Diving Into the Alphabet Soup: Deciphering the MDs, PhDs and SLPs to Find the Right Expert for Your Child
- Chap. 4: Learning the Lingo: Becoming Fluent in the Language of Speech and Language Problems
- Chap. 5: How They Do It: Understanding the Different Therapeutic Techniques
- Chap. 6: Getting the Right Help: Finding and Evaluating Your Child's Speech Therapist
- Chap. 7: Eating Fish, Riding Horses and Other Help From Unexpected Sources: Complementary Therapies
- Chap. 8: Dealing With the Diagnosis: The Impact on Your Child, as Well as Your Marriage, Family, and Job
- Chap. 9: Home/Work: Creating a Communication-friendly Home
Chap. 10: School Daze: Navigating Your Way Through the IEP
- Chap. 11: Are You Covered?: Cutting Through Insurance Red Tape
Chap. 12: The Tunnel Is Long but I Promise There's a Light
Guide Review - Book Review: The Parent's Guide to Speech and Language Problems
Full disclosure: The reason I know about this book is because I'm in it. Author Debbie Feit quotes parents throughout the book about what worked for their children, and some of my answers to her questionnaires made the cut. I also wrote a blurb for the cover.
That's how I know about the book, but it's not why I like it. Personally, I'd be just as happy to see the parent-quotes gone, mine included. If there are two camps of readers, those who love parent voices and case studies and those who just want to read what the author has to say, I'm in the latter.
Feit has plenty of her own experiences to share as the parent of two children with speech and language problems, and plenty of lived-in advice as well, both in terms of bearing the emotional burdens and of tackling everyday tasks like finding a therapist, getting the appropriate school services, and fighting for insurance coverage. She knows all the tricks, and she's happy to pass them on. It's her voice and experience that make me a fan of this particular parenting volume.
Though the material is presented in a clear and parent-friendly fashion, it can get a little intimidating. A parent just starting out may not feel up to the task of being at-home therapist and full-time advocate, and parents further on in the process may be struck by all the stuff they didn't do when they should have. You'll be the best judge of whether you want to read this book cover to cover for a big dose of empowerment and responsibility, or pick out the sections you need at any given time for helpful reference.
Or, you know, just scan through those parent quotes for an impromptu support session. That Terri with the two kids in New Jersey seems to be pretty sharp.