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Books on Future Planning

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The following books on future planning have been reviewed for the Harried Parent's Book Club. They are sorted by Guide Rating, with five stars being best.

1. Parenting an Adult With Disabilities or Special Needs

Parenting an Adult With Disabilities or Special Needs
Cover image courtesy of Amacom

When you're up to your eyebrows in therapists and IEPs and doctor visits and research, it's hard to imagine a time when you'll have to deal with issues like where your adult child is going to live and work and find friendship. Often, we put those thoughts off -- but that time comes more quickly than you think, and without some advance preparation, it's rough on everyone. Peggy Lou Morgan provides a calm, experienced voice to lead you through. 5 Stars

2. The Special Needs Planning Guide

Cover image courtesy of Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Planning for the legal and financial needs of even a "normal" family can be overwhelming, but add a child with special needs to the equation and the degree of difficulty soars. Authors John W. Nadworny and Cynthia R. Haddad have family members with disabilities, so they know the problems firsthand -- and try to guide you gently away from them in a calm, compassionate, and only mildly panic-inducing guide. There's even a CD of helpful files to get you going. 5 Stars

3. Steps to Independence

Cover image courtesy of Brookes Publishing Co.

Showing kids how to do things for themselves is a nice idea, but it’s so much easier to just do it for them. This is a book that teaches parents how to teach their children well, with step-by-step instructions on how to help kids learn to do everything from shoe-tying to home repair. 5 Stars

4. On Their Own

Cover image courtesy of Newmarket Press

Think learning disabilities stop when your child finally makes it out of school? Think again. Anne Ford, who first shared her daughter's story in the book Laughing Allegra, follows her into adulthood now with a look at the way problems with organization, focus and social skills just go on and on and on. Fortunately, parents can help -- once the kids are adults, and before they get there. 4.5 Stars

5. The Down Syndrome Transition Handbook

The Down Syndrome Transition Handbook
Cover image courtesy of Woodbine House

Even if your child doesn't have Down syndrome, you'll find helpful information in this handbook for dealing with special-education transitions, special-needs trusts, guardianship, supported employment and housing, government benefits, and all those other adulthood issues you've been trying not to think about. Simons is a parent who's lived through her son's transition and has a lot of information and opinions to share. 4 Stars

6. Make the Day Matter!

Photo courtesy of Brookes Publishing Co.

If you ever imagine your child growing up to a life with no work, no freedom, no friends, no reason for getting in the morning, this book will be immeasurably cheering. It spreads the current enthusiasm for inclusive education into a vision for inclusive life, with people with disabilities fully embraced by the community. Society's not there yet, but it's nice to dream of the possibilities. 4 Stars

7. Next Chapter Book Club

The Next Chapter Book Club
Cover image courtesy of Woodbine House

Finding ways to learn and participate in the community after leaving school can be hard for adults with intellectual disabilities. Next Chapter Book Clubs offer a great opportunity to do both and have fun, and this book is a complete guide to understanding, starting, and facilitating these weekly get-togethers. It's a great idea, though one parents may have to find someone else to manage. 4 Stars

8. Planning for the Future

Cover image courtesy of L. Mark Russell

This huge, comprehensive, example-packed volume seeks to tell you everything you need to know to plan for your special-needs child's future, and probably quite a bit that you can't even process yet. If you think you've got it all figured out, this book may find a couple of loose ends for you to tie; if you know you don't, it will show you where to start. 4 Stars

9. Count Us In

Cover image courtesy of Harcourt

The dialogues that make up this book took place from 1990-1993, and were originally published in 1994. The book has now been re-issued with an afterword updating readers on a dozen years of adulthood for its authors. They're enjoyable company, and have interesting insights into DS life, and life in general. 3.5 Stars

10. Person-Centered Planning Made Easy

Person-Centered Planning Made Easy
Cover image courtesy of Brookes Publishing

Many parents have wondered what happens to our kids when they outgrow school and its attempts at mainstreaming and have to find a life in the adult world. "Person-centered planning" is like the real-world version of inclusion, looking to find placements for individuals in the wider community rather than gather them together in self-contained institutions. Reading the book is a little like being in an IEP meeting, but at least it's an upbeat one. 3.5 Stars

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