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Lorna d'Entremont
BY Lorna d'Entremont

Six Helpful Books for Caregivers of Individuals with Special Needs

When provided with the right type of learning environment and support, individuals with special needs can thrive, be happy, and lead interesting and productive lives.

With accommodations aimed at providing necessary supports for a student to access the curriculum and meet his/her learning potential, it is possible for students with special needs to learn and be productive in school. These individuals need to be in the correct environment and have access to the needed materials and educators who can identify strategies and resources to help them succeed.

Many individuals with Down syndrome and autism grow up to live independent lives with varying degrees of support and accommodations. The six books below are very helpful if the individuals you work with need to have accommodations, modifications, and support at home, at school or in the community.

1. Down Syndrome Parenting 101: Must-Have Advice for Making Your Life Easier

Down Syndrome Parenting 101: Must-Have Advice for Making Your Life Easier  by Natalie Hale-By Natalie Hale
Ms. Hale weaves personal experience with her own son who has Down syndrome, her professional advice from teaching reading to children with Down syndrome, and other families’ stories. She addresses many areas of concern for caregivers raising or teaching a child with Down syndrome. Readers appreciate her friendly tone as she doles out strategies as if she were a trusted friend.  Her honest, sensible, and sometimes humorous advice stays with you long after you have finished reading her book.
Read the complete review.

2. Try Reading Again: How to Motivate and Teach Older Beginners, Age 10 and Up

Try Reading Again: How to Motivate and Teach Older Beginners, Age 10 and Up  by DeAnna Horstmeier, PhD.-By DeAnna Horstmeier, PhD.
Try Reading Again is the size of a phone book with 300 pages; however, with the detailed Table of Contents and the index it is very easy to find the information you need.  This one book is all the teacher needs for an English reading program. There are ten chapters divided into three parts with hundreds of detailed lesson plans. The book comes with a handy CD-ROM of forms, worksheets, games, activities, and additional level three structured stories. The author has seventy-four printable pages in her appendices with a wealth of language activities that complement each lesson.

One thing I especially like about this book is that the teacher has guidelines to make an informal assessment to know where to start. There are frequent evaluations provided to know when to advance; therefore, throughout the year they can tailor their instruction to meet the needs of the student.
Read the complete review.

3. Autism Interventions – Exploring the Spectrum of Autism, 2nd Edition

Autism Interventions – Exploring the Spectrum of Autism, 2nd Edition  By Carolyn Murray-Slutsky, MS OTR, C/NDT, and Betty Paris, PT, M. Ed, C/NDT-By Carolyn Murray-Slutsky, MS OTR, C/NDT, and Betty Paris, PT, M. Ed, C/NDT
The seventeen chapters are authored by world leaders in the fields of occupational therapy, research, behavioral specialists, speech language pathologists and educational specialists.

This book serves the needs of many different groups: a clinical reference for teachers, therapists and anyone working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder; a supplementary text for those in occupational, physical and speech therapy programs; behavioral intervention; and psychology majors; and guidance for parents and loved ones raising a child with ASD. It is a “must have” for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of Autism Spectrum Disorders and learn practical, effective, easy-to-use intervention strategies that are based on current research.
Read the complete review.

4. The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education

The Everything® Parent’s Guide to Special Education: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs  -By Amanda Morin -By Amanda Morin
This guide book clearly explains the process on how to evaluate, prepare, organize, and get the needed services for any child with special needs. The author is an education writer, special education parent advocate and mom to two children with special needs. Her step-by-step guide is designed to help parents understand the special education process and advocate for their child’s needs.

It is a comprehensive, easy-to-read book. It guides parents through the process from the very beginning of all you need to know about the laws that administer special education, keeping track your child’s progress, the process of referring for special education, and what happens once your child is referred and evaluated. It will walk you through keeping organized records, asking the right questions, finding the right answers, and even what to do if you and the school district can’t come to an agreement on what type of program your child should have.
Read the complete review.

5. Building Bridges Through Sensory Integration

Building Bridges Through Sensory Integration, 3rd Edition: Therapy For  Children With Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders”  by Paula Aquilla BSc OT, Ellen Yack BSc MEd OT, and Shirley Sutton BSc OT-By Paula Aquilla BSc. OT, Ellen Yack BSc MEd. OT, and Shirley Sutton BSc. OT
This book is very well organized in two parts with nine chapters. Part one explains the role of the occupational therapists in treatment and examines sensory integration theories. Part two offers methods of identifying sensory problems in children along with numerous strategies and activities. This revised and expanded edition offers over 100 extra pages of material, as well as a dedicated website of free downloadable forms and exercises for easy printing!

This book has explanations and sensory strategies for individuals of all ages. Although this book is primarily directed at children and their parents, the majority of the content is applicable to adults too. The strategies are not only for those with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis, but are for anyone with sensory challenges.
Read the complete review.

6. Healthy Relationships: Intellectual Disabilities, Learning Disabilities

Healthy Relationships: A Workbook for Teens and Adults with Asperger’s, Autism, ADHD, Intellectual Disabilities, Learning Disabilities   by Diana Loiewski, Tarane Sondoozi, and Renee Tompkins by Diana Loiewski, Psy.D., Tarane Sondoozi, M.Ed and Renee Tompkins, SLP
This is a multimedia workbook that teaches special needs teens and young adults what are healthy relationships while keeping themselves safe.  The workbook comes with a CDROM that is loaded with videos, sound, drop down menus, textual fields, comics and more.

There are twelve chapters in this spiral-bound workbook that promote safety and healthy decision making along with teaching the basic components of any healthy relationship. The workbook teaches strategies for creating friendships, business relationships, dating relationship while keeping yourself safe at all times. This is a must read book for not only special needs people but anyone who is working with the special needs population.
Read the complete review.

These books I recommend are great resources to help make sure students with different abilities are given a chance to reach their potential and to establish friendships, pursue interests and be included in community activities.

Lorna d'Entremont

Written on October 22, 2015 by:

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.