The Bottom Line
By Karin Melberg Schwier and Dave Hingsburger; 223 pages. From the book cover: "How to accomplish one of the most significant tasks every parent faces -- raising a proud and confident son or daughter."
You may think it's not necessary to talk to your special-needs child about sex, but think again -- about that conversation, and about your conviction that your child can never have a full, satifsying adult life. This book has a lot to say on both subjects.
- Addresses a subject of great interest to parents that's not often written about.
- Relentlessly upbeat about the potential and future of children with intellectual disabilities.
- Includes quotes from and photos of families who share their experiences.
- "Rest Stops" in the text encourage readers to make their own notes and plans.
- Makes important point that children are vulnerable to abuse if they're not armed with information.
- The title's a bit of a cheat: The book's more about raising a confident child than about sexuality.
- That upbeat tone can be oppressive if you're not feeling particularly upbeat about your child.
- The questions asked and answered may not be the ones that concern you most.
- Foreword by Marian Burke, mother of actor Chris Burke
- Chapter 1: Your Journey
- Chapter 2: Your Guides
- Chapter 3: A Place to Start
- Chapter 4: Hold Me Tight
- Chapter 5: Put Me Down
- Chapter 6: Leave Me Alone
- Chapter 7: Let Me Go
- Chapter 8: A New Future for You and Your Child
- Recommended Resources
Guide Review - Book Review: Sexuality - Your Sons and Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities
Discussing sexuality with a typically developing child is scary enough for most parents; discussing it with a child with special needs often seems too complicated and fraught with disaster to even contemplate. Yet the authors of this book make a pretty convincing case for why it should and even must be done. Children with special needs are staggeringly vulnerable to abuse and manipulation, and surprisingly likely to acquire sexually transmitted diseases. As parents who work tirelessly to protect our children in so many ways, we're truly remiss if we don't offer our children protection in this one, too -- the protection of information, and the protection of awareness that this may indeed be an issue for them.
To some extent, though, sexuality and the need to prepare for it is just a hook to get readers into a book that spends most of its time advocating for optimism, ambition, and fully realized futures for people with intellectual disabilities. Throughout the book, parents of children with intellectual disabilities tell their stories, and sometimes their children speak for themselves. Photos of those families add a nice personalized touch, a feeling of "we're just like you, and you can do this, too." Self-determination, high hopes and independence for special-needs children may be even scarier for parents to comtemplate than sexuality. But isn't taking on big scary things and winning what we specialize in?