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Pure Friendship for Individuals with Special Needs
Lorna d'Entremont

Five Parenting Books on Autism, Special Needs, and the Importance of Play

What do kids need, and how can we meet those needs? A good place to start is with parenting books written by experts in their field—and sometimes the expert is a parent, like Benedetta Lino, who shares her journey raising a child with cerebral palsy to adulthood, or Leanne Page, who applies the lessons she's learned in her work to the problems of parenting. The parenting books introduced in this post offer help to parents in many different situations. One introduces new parents to the importance of play. Another is for parents and caregivers of autistic children who are approaching adulthood. Another explains how a child’s sensory issues can serve as barriers to learning. It is often said that knowledge is power. These wonderful resources will arm you with the parenting strategies you need to understand and support your child during all phases of life.

1. Play to Grow! Over 200 Games Designed to Help Your Special Child Develop Fundamental Social Skills (Revised 2nd Edition)

Play to Grow! Over 200 Games Designed to Help Your Special Child Develop Fundamental Social Skills Revised 2nd Edition by Tali Field Berman and Abby Rappaport

By Tali F. Berman and Abby Rappaport

The team at Special Needs Book Review was very impressed with the first edition of Play to Grow. The revised edition has all the great features we loved about the first book and a lot more. It includes more than 30 new games! It is designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. Plus, it has a great new look with a new book cover. The manual is very well planned. The games are designed to be fun and simple-to-prepare. The goal is to make your interaction with your child fun and exciting so your child asks for more play time with you. The purposefully designed games will help children grow to their fullest capacity in the area of social development. Parents and all those who work with children will benefit from Play to Grow because there is no doubt that play is closely tied to the cognitive, socio-emotional, and motor development of young children. Read the complete review.

2. The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults

The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults by Debra Moore, Ph.D. and Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

By Debra Moore, Ph.D. and Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

This is one of the best autism books I have reviewed! The Loving Push urges those who care for and work with individuals with autism to nudge them from their comfort zone and prod them to move forward. A feature I like in the book is the quotes that begin each chapter. One by Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly sums up this book: “We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” We learn that many fully verbal autistic kids are not learning the crucial, basic skills necessary for socializing and for employment. In the US, 50,000 students with autism exit high school each year.

The Loving Push answers questions like:

  • What will become of these young adults with autism?
  • How do we help them have a rewarding and meaningful life?
  • Will caregivers be able to push them to live at their highest and best capacity?
  • Will educators be able to give them the opportunity to express their unique perspectives, personalities, and strengths?
  • What can we do to bring out the youth with ASD languishing in bedrooms playing video games?
The book provides much-needed advice for parents, teachers, professionals, and anyone else who cares about an autistic person regardless of the age of the individual. It is never too late to start to “push.” Read the complete review.

3. Tears of My Angel: A Memoir of Love, Hope, and Lost Dreams

Tears of My Angel: Memoir of Love, Hope, and Lost Dreams By Benedetta Lino

By Benedetta Lino

Benedetta Lino explains that she wrote her parenting book to give inspiration and worthy advice to other parents struggling with the challenges of raising a child with special needs. Mrs. Lino's child with cerebral palsy was one year old when diagnosed, and this was in 1983. She is now a severely disabled adult, and her mother shares their challenging journey The target audience for Tears of My Angel is parents raising a child with a disability, people who work in the medical field, and individuals who are struggling with adversities and are looking for inspiration and hope. This book shows you never to take your family for granted. I would recommend Tears of My Angel for all parents, not only those raising children with severe health issues. Read the complete review.

4. Sensory Strategies: Practical Ways to Help Children and Young People with Autism Learn and Achieve

Sensory Strategies: Practical ways to help children and young people with autism learn and achieve By Corinna Laurie, OTR/L

By Corinna Laurie, OTR/L

This publication, aimed at both professionals and parents, helps the reader to understand our senses, recognize how any difficulties in these can affect behavior, identify the sensory issues behind problem behavior, and manage that behavior effectively. As an occupational therapist with expertise in the area of sensory processing disorder, the author identifies possible behavioral triggers and suggests a variety of practical strategies. Thanks to photocopiable resources, those strategies are instantly accessible and ready to provide simple intervention ideas in the absence of a therapist. Many of the intervention strategies are both simple and effective, with minimal cost. The author provides easy-to-understand explanations of underlying causes and provides tried and tested strategies to reduce the impact of these difficulties on students/children and those caring for them. The aim is to remove barriers to learning, reduce anxiety, and help children feel more comfortable both within their own skin and within their everyday environment. Read the complete review.

5. Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity

Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity By Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA

By Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA

Parents of children at all stages want advice on how to change unacceptable behavior. Parenting with Science includes proven strategies used in schools and clinics. Leanne Page, a mom herself, applies what she learned in university and through her work experiences to show parents how to be in control and give them practical, step-by-step instructions to modify their children's behavior. Ms. Page has a great website, and one of her blog posts about her book shows you her conversational style of writing:

Top 5 Reasons to Check Out Parenting with Science

5. It’s a quick read! At only 68 pages, even the busiest of moms can find time to eek out a chapter here and there! 4. It’s not boring. At least not too boring. I’m told it’s humorous and even heard my husband laugh out loud while proofreading it. 3. It gives step-by-step instructions for all behavior strategies presented. Literally. A table at the end of each chapter with numbered steps. Does it get any easier than that? 2. It reminds Mom that you are in control. Seriously. You are in control. Don’t believe any tiny tyrants who say otherwise! 1. The struggle is real. Parenting is tough. Toddlers are tough. Big kids are tough. We need all the tools possible to win at parenting! Read the complete review.

WRITTEN ON November 02, 2016 BY:

Lorna d'Entremont

Lorna d’Entremont has a Master of Education and has taught thirty years in French elementary classrooms in Nova Scotia. When she retired from teaching, she joined her daughter as co-owner of SentioLife Solutions,Ltd. the makers of the sensory, oral-motor tools SentioChews and KidCompanions Chewelry. She blogs about issues that concern parents of children with special needs and also writes reviews for their Special Needs Book Review site. She is a wife, mom of three, and grandmother of five granddaughters.