Image courtesy of PriceGrabber
The book cover calls this "a triumphant story of the power of the human spirit," and that's certainly true. It's also a story of the power of one teacher who had an impossible idea and made it happen. There are plenty of books that focus on the battles parents fight for their children, and they're worth celebrating. But let's hear it, too, for the special education teachers who work small miracles, unsung. In author Mike Kersjes' case, the miracle's as big as the moon. 4.5 Stars
Copyright (c) 2008 by Unlimited Publishing LLC, used by permission.
For any family, finding a pet that fits can be an adventure, and many's the parent who's been leery of adding a dog to the family chaos. But when one of your kids is nonverbal and immobile, unable to protest if a dog is being aggressive or push it away, the concerns skyrocket. Lisa Saunders shares the odyssey her family went through -- via hamster and rabbit and ant farm and cat and inappropriate puppy -- to find the kind of canine companion parents dream of. 4 Stars
Cover image courtesy of Jessica Kingsley Publishers
You may have read books and completed questionnaires and written essays about how your child experiences things and what he or she needs to be happy and content. But when's the last time you figured those things out about yourself? This handy workbook is all about doing just that. Get a pencil. 4 Stars
Cover image courtesy of Health Communications, Inc.
If you've ever read a Chicken Soup book, you know what's waiting for you here -- close to 100 stories, each just two or three pages long, telling tales to warm your heart. In this volume, the stories are about children with special needs, and indeed, they are an inspiring bunch. Even if you're usually unmoved by Chicken Soup stories, you may find some tears brewing here. Let them fall. It feels good. 4 Stars
Cover image courtesy of Discovery House
When you have a seriously sick kid, it can be hard to reconcile your reality with your religious beliefs. That makes it a good time for meditations like these, which face common special-needs crisis points with Bible passages, stories of families like yours, and gentle suggestions on how to make it through and keep the faith. 4 Stars
Cover image courtesy of Five Star Publications Inc.
If you're looking for a book to explain Down syndrome to children or teens -- anyone, really, who responds to photos and captions better than long detailed text -- I Just Am
is an excellent choice. Through photos and good-humored captions, Bryan Lambke tells about his life as a person with Down syndrome, and a person with two jobs, and a person with two girlfriends, and a person who loves nachos and pizza, and asks "If this isn't 'normal,' what is?" 4 Stars
Cover image courtesy of PriceGrabber
In all the coverage and opinion pieces published around the death of Terri Schindler Schiavo, one that particularly caught my eye was an essay by Christopher de Vinck about his brother, Oliver, who despite being in a vegetative state his entire life was nonetheless an inspiration to his family, as were the parents who cared for him lovingly and without hesitation. 4 Stars
Cover image courtesy of Jonathan Mooney
On a 35,000 round-trip across the U.S. in one of those stubby special-ed buses, Mooney meets people who vary from society's ideal of "normal" in various ways, from a deaf-blind child in Virginia to a transgendered artist in Maine to a young woman with Down syndrome in Ohio -- all of whom have in common difficult school experiences, and more comfort in their own skins than Mooney's been able to muster. If you've wondered where your child fits in the world, the lessons the author learns here may benefit you and yours as well. 4 Stars
When Amy Kuebelbeck was 5-1/2 months pregnant, the child she was carrying was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition in which the left side of the heart does not develop. This moving memoir tells of the choices she and her husband made to spare their child painful medical procedures and to celebrate the life he had, however brief. 4 Stars
Photo courtesy of New American Library
"When I hold it in my hands, I still remember the time the world seemed upside down to me, and it was a meditation, a kind of therapy." That's how Welsh writer Wyn describes this book, a chronical of the first seven years in the life of her son, Joe, who has severe cerebral palsy but nowhere near the gloom-and-doom life that was predicted for him. If you still remember those upside-down times or are going through them still, it may represent a comforting meditation for you as well. 3.5 Stars