Parenting a special needs child is no easy task. It requires daily reserves of strength, knowledge, and support. Although each parent has an individual path to navigate, we are lucky to live in a world of multiple resources and increased amounts of available information.
Humans have a natural inclination to lean on others for support. But even for the parents who feel they have no aid to fall upon, there is no need to feel alone. Books can be a great resource to turn to. There is literature on virtually all aspects of every subject out there, and in the special needs genre even more so, ranging from personal memoirs to distilled techniques. Here is a small list of books to start with.
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
The first step to helping a special needs child is understanding his or her situation. Empathy can only get you so far; you need to understand, by way of simple education. This bestseller essentially opens your eyes to the daily struggles of a diagnosed child. It explains the reasons behind certain behaviors and reactions that may seem puzzling to outsiders. The author’s personal experiences as a parent of children with autism and ADHD have given her unique insight to accumulate over the years and share with her readers in a book that serves to enlighten and inspire.
Special Children, Challenges Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Raising a Child with a Disability by Robert A. Naseef, Ph.D.
This book draws attention not just to the situation at hand, but to the general picture as a whole. Parenting a special needs child is a challenge, but when there are siblings involved, the challenge of caregiving is that much greater. Every child is like a universe, and it can be tricky to make sure each one is thriving.
According to Naseef, despair is unnecessary. He demonstrates that beautiful relationships can indeed blossom out of the struggles. “Whether we are related by chance or choice, we must learn to accept and honor our differences. When we do this, we can divide our sorrow, multiply our joys, and make connections to support us through a lifetime.” As father of a son with autism, as well as being a clinical psychologist dealing with families of children with disabilities, the Naseef’s book has much to offer from his double-sided perspective.
A Different Kind of Perfect: Writings by Parents on Raising a Child With Special Needs by Cindy Dowling, Bernadette Thomas, and Neil Nicoll
Sometimes, you don’t need explanations and just want to face the truth. This book is a collection of writings from parents of children with disabilities who firsthand went through all the emotions of grief, denial, anger, and acceptance. Life isn’t always pretty, but there is a comfort in knowing that others have been in your place, and you will get through it as well. Reading through these vignettes will no doubt take you on an emotional journey. Each chapter opens with an introduction by child psychologist Neil Nicoll. This book is like a guided conversation sprinkled with the wisdom of open hearts and honesty that will no doubt assure you that you have the depths within you as well.