2013 Recommended Reading for Parents of Special Needs Children

Books for Parents of Special Needs Children
Compiled by Cheryl K. Teal

Our list of recommended reading includes recently published titles on autism, developmental disabilities, physical or mobility impairments, giftedness and more.

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism from best-selling author Temple Grandin, who introduces readers to the scientists and self-advocates who are developing innovative theories of what causes autism, how it is diagnosed and how to best treat it.

Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories by Kay Marner and Adrienne Ehlert Bashista (DRT Press, 2012). An anthology of personal essays written by parents of children with ADD, ADHD, OCD, ASDs and other “alphabet soup” diagnoses that take the already difficult job of parenting and add to the challenge. Topics include dealing with problem behaviors in various contexts and settings, experiences with and feelings about treatment, school (and other advocacy) experiences, children’s social interactions and friends, and the effect of parenting a difficult child on a parent’s emotional and physical health, marriage and other relationships.

The Everything Parent’s Guide to Raising a Gifted Child: All You Need to Know to Meet Your Child’s Emotional, Social, and Academic Needs by Sarah Herbert Robbins (Adams Media, 2012). Gifted and exceptional children can seem self-sufficient, but it takes more than intelligence to lead a happy and fulfilling life. This book, part of the Everything Guides, examines how parents can nurture a gifted child from birth to adolescence through support and advocacy in school, in social situations and at home.

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (Scribner, 2012). Solomon writes about families coping with their children’s differences: deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities and more. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the author suggests that the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love documented in every chapter.

The Girl’s Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes in the Tween Years by Terri Couwenhoven (Woodbine House, 2011). This guide is intended for girls with intellectual disabilities who may need extra help as they encounter the physical and emotional changes of puberty, including safety and privacy issues. It is written on a third-grade reading level for girls to read by themselves or with a parent’s help.

The Spark: Raising a Genius by Kristine Barnett (Random House Publishing Group, 2013). In this memoir, the author shares the story of how she nurtured her autistic son, who was ultimately recognized as a genius. She believes that all parents can use these strategies to help their child find his or her “spark.”


Online Reading for Parents of Special Needs Children
Compiled by Karen Lewis Taylor

The Pacer Center. Parent-run advocacy organization for children with special needs. Newsletters and e-news are produced multiple times per year on issues including special education, early childhood development, technology, health care and advocacy.

Parenting Special Needs. Free, bimonthly online magazine devoted to providing information and inspiration to parents of children of all ages with special needs.

Friendship Circle Blog. Hundreds of searchable articles on topics including parenting, special education, products, therapy tips, videos and more. Contributors include parents, special educators, therapists, advocates and those with special needs.

Pinterest page. A collection of parenting blogs that address the challenges and joys of raising children with special needs.

Karen Lewis Taylor is the project editor of Exceptional Child.

Categories: Exceptional Child