Use this alphabetical index to find books that have been reviewed for the Harried Parent's Book Club.
By Russ Federman, Ph.D., and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., M.D.; 160 pages. Subtitle: "The Young Adult's Guide to Dealing With Bipolar Disorder."
Bottom Line: A child's diagnosis is a project for parents, but when a diagnosis comes just at the time when a young adult is branching off into college plans and new jobs and roommates and independent living, Mom and Dad have a lot less control. Passing a book like this to your young person may be the best way to help out when you can't take over.
Bottom Line: What sort of life do you see for your child with intellectual disabilities? If it involves lifelong chastity and childishness, the authors of the essays in this book want you to know that you're probably dreaming. They argue -- on behalf of people with disabilities, and against well-meaning families and staff who think otherwise -- that sexuality is a part of life that should not be denied, and that denial will be circumvented in dangerous ways.
Bottom Line: Don't let the subtitle fool you -- this booklet may have been written for chemical dependency professionals, but it's a topnotch resource for parents as well. Short, cheap and easy to read, it goes beyond a basic description of FAS to provide useful ways of thinking about and dealing with its challenges. Amazing how such a slim volume makes so much sense out of such a confounding disorder.
Bottom Line: In an insightful memoir, a young man with Asperger's explains how he experiences the world, providing useful metaphors for helping you figure your own child out.
Bottom Line: With so many sad, downbeat, hopeless books about parenting children with fetal alcohol exposure on the shelves, any volume that remains upbeat and provides a useful course of action gets a thumbs-up from me. The three-step plan is pretty good advice for other behavioral challenges, too.
Bottom Line: When your child can't sleep, it's hard on your child and hard on you. You don't want to refuse all help and support, but you also don't want to constantly respond to the pitter-patter of little feet tripping down the hall. This four-week plan will give you something constructive to do about the problem.
Bottom Line: Those advocating euthanasia promote it as a way to help someone who no longer wishes to live find release -- but does that help ever come in the form of a push? Wesley Smith presents disturbing evidence that what may start out as a humanitarian impulse can quickly turn into survival of the fittest.
Bottom Line: There are special-needs memoirs that specialize in endless detail, or black humor, or grief-tinged reflection, or fervent fact-finding. This isn't one of those. It's just a simple telling of one family's experience with premature birth, early health struggles, and long-term perseverance. If you're inspired by stories of how other families have handled their challenges, this book offers one in a quick-reading, heartfelt, and straightforward format.
Bottom Line: The Four Walls of My Freedom starts out like a straightforward memoir of parenting a child with cerebral palsy, but it quickly develops into a much more philosophical look at what makes human beings human, how that understanding needs to be tweaked for individuals with severe disabilities, and how society can best accommodate them and also extend a lifeline to the parents who unexpectedly become 24/7 caregivers.
Bottom Line: Temple Grandin and others have written eloquently about what it's like to grow up on the autism spectrum, but they've generally written from the perspective of a grown-up. Here's an account from a kid right in the thick of it, an adolescent with Asperger's who wants parents to know what it feels like, and other kids to know they're not the only ones who feel that way.