THE CHANCE TO GROW by Katherine Froman


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A physiotherapist's modest, encouraging account of her work with mentally and physically handicapped children. Froman, whose private practice takes her into the homes of her patients, has a happy message to relay: though a quarter-million handicapped infants are born in the US each year, many of those handicaps can be overcome through recent advances in treatment. Froman's own daughter was born with dislocated hips which went undiagnosed until she was two--and had to wear a full body cast. So she understands parental reactions on hearing such news: worry over how damaged the child will turn out to be; concern about siblings; anxiety over treatment costs; and, above all. guilt. Then with case studies, she sets out to show how the agonizing can be turned to constructive action. Among the children are one with Down's syndrome, one with multiple birth defects including facial deformities, one who's autistic. Froman describes how exercises in sensation, movement, and learning helped these children function to their fullest--which often exceeded the predictions of doctors and the expectations of parents. Witness, typically, the little girl whose serious physical problems led to diagnoses of possible retardation--but who, stimulated by Froman's exercises, showed herself to be extremely bright. (""Not too long after her second birthday she took up crayons and produced a readily recognizable masterpiece known in the household as 'Tree With Mommy Sitting Under It.'"") Froman, an obviously gifted therapist, never underestimates the difficulties (she reports several cases in which she failed to help); but overall she offers realistic comfort and support for those facing a similar challenge. The book also pairs well with such parenting handbooks as Pearlman and Scott's Raising the Handicapped Child (1981).

Pub Date: April 1st, 1983
Publisher: Everest