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Special Children, Challenged Parents

The Struggles and Rewards of Raising a Child With a Disability

By Dr. Robert A. Naseef


Special Children

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Review by Allison Martin

Special Children, Challenged Parents is a traveler's guide to the emotional journey of parenting a child with special needs. This is a terrific book, which melds personal insight with psychological theory on coming to terms with your child's disabilities and caring for their special needs. Neither preachy nor pedantic, Dr. Naseef brings a unique mixture of empathy and wisdom to this difficult topic. His personal story is openly touching. You will grieve and grow right along with him as he shares his experiences with his son, who has severe autism and mental retardation.

Dr. Naseef begins his book by delving into the critical stages of grief which parents of special needs children cycle throughout their lives. This overview will help you understand many of the emotions that you and your spouse are feeling as you care for your child. Next, he describes specific methods for parenting children with special needs. These include redirection, positive reinforcement and time out. The last section of his book addresses the important people in your life and the life of your child - your partner, family, other siblings, and professionals.

Told with humor and affection that is sometimes the unique common language of special needs parents, Dr. Naseef observations will be immediately applicable to your own life. Depth and diversity are enhanced by stories from parents and groups he has served over the years.

One of the unique features of the book is the examination of the parenting styles of men and women as they come to grips with their children's disabilities. These insights may be invaluable for yourself and your partner, as parenting a child with special needs can put additional stress on relationships. It is also a very helpful guide for anyone involved in support groups.

I recommend this books for all parents of special needs children. Do yourself a favor and get a copy for your partner or family as well.

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