OUR SPECIAL CHILD: A Guide to Successful Parenting of Disabled Children by Bette M. Ross

OUR SPECIAL CHILD: A Guide to Successful Parenting of Disabled Children

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Bette Ross speaks about parenting the disabled from experience--18 years ago she was told that her newborn son had Down's syndrome. Here, she blends no-nonsense advice about alternatives and strategies with examples drawn from her own experience and other parents'. The emphasis is on maintaining high expectations--toward maximum possible independence. Chapter by chapter, Ross introduces parents to situations they'll encounter as their children grow: bringing the baby home--or not; guilt and ""chronic sorrow""; ""special"" vs. ""normal"" preschool experiences; working with educators to find the right program for the child; helping the child move into the world outside the school and family. ""Not Made of Stone"" underscores the importance of parents' providing emotional support and sex education rather than cloistering the child in fear of the worst. To ease the transition to independence, there are pointers on grooming, using the telephone, ordering food in a restaurant, and other everyday activities we ordinarily take for granted. Parents are also apprised, sensibly, that the primary goal of most training workshops is to instill good work habits and positive attitudes, not to teach specific skills--something that many may not realize. But it's Ross' portraits of real people, far more than her suggestions or back-up reading lists, that will help parents see what's possible for retarded children. In a moment of frustration, she said to Mike, ""You can't be nine until you can tie your shoelaces""; and Mike struggled and practiced, and learned to tie his shoelaces. Marie Rose's parents had to be ""squeaky wheels"" to get an appropriate placement for their daughter; but they had the satisfaction, later, of helping four other couples place their children appropriately too. Cleo and Henry, two developmentally-disabled adults, live together in an apartment; Henry's parents help them to manage money, but they travel around the city by bus, work in sheltered and training workshops, and take special night classes for the disabled--a solution, also, to the problem of finding few friends among their neighbors. A close-focus complement to Pearlman (above), and a dual-focus mean between Robert Meyers' highly personalized Like Normal People (1978) and Robert Edgerton's highly clinical Mental Retardation (1979).

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1981
Publisher: Walker