A road map of sorts to the various governmental and charitable agencies and self-help organizations that can assist parents in negotiating the financial, medical, emotional and social shoals they face in rearing a handicapped child. Unfortunately, Dickman (a father of a handicapped son) and Gordon (who supplies a Pollyanna-ish chapter on sexuality and the handicapped) rely heavily on a survey of parents rather than on legwork and hard-nosed research. The results are understandably spotty. The thrust is away from institutionalization and toward home care. There is virtually no evaluation of the residential schools or community-group homes that have salvaged numerous handicapped children and their families. The nitty-gritty comes about midpoint with a fairly complete, if somewhat disorganized, discussion of the grab bag of programs for the handicapped provided by the government and other organizations. Dickman warns that recent federal-state cutbacks have produced long waiting lists, yet claims that ""intervention aid"" must begin as soon as the disability is diagnosed and warns that ""waiting worsens disabilities."" His only advice: make as much noise as possible; he ignores interim therapy that might be handled at home. He goes into considerable detail on Supplemental Social Security and how parents with incomes of less than $1,200 a month can negotiate the incredible red tape it requires. Another valuable section is devoted to special education (mandated for the handicapped since 1975). This requires an Individual Education Program tailored to each child's needs as approved by the parent. Dickman and those he surveyed are particularly helpful here, with all kinds of tips on how to use this leverage. In sum: a useful primer for new parents that pulls few punches when dealing with the difficulties that lie ahead. But for those who've already experienced the problems, frustratingly incomplete.