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Books for Siblings! DVDs for Children!

book cover Click here to view this book and other special books for siblings from ages 4 to 12.
Click here to view Mikey's favorite DVDs including this one and other special selections for children.

Special DVD about Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome: The First 18 Months
Director: Will Schermerhorn
Studio: Blueberry Shoes Productions LLC, DVD Release Date: December 23, 2003

Woodbine House is very pleased to bring you this video, created by Will Schermerhorn, and filled with adorable images of babies with Down syndrome, inspiring stories of parents, and practical information from the leading Down syndrome experts. DOWN SYNDROME: The First 18 Months is a reassuring and realistic introduction to the unique joys and challenges that children with Down syndrome bring to their families during the critical first 18 to 24 months of life.

Will Schermerhorn was inspired to make this video after his son with Down syndrome was born and he observed his wife’s relentless pursuit of information that would comfort and empower. He interviewed thirteen leading medical and developmental experts on Down syndrome--–Libby Kumin, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Joan E. Guthrie Medlen, R.D., L.D., Patricia C. Winders, P.T, Dr. George Capone, Professor Sue Buckley, Dr. William Cohen, Dr. Allen Crocker, Sarah Rosenfeld Johnson, and Dr. Sally Shott--–on a variety of issues covering:

Newborns: diagnosis, health care, breastfeeding, heart defects Health Concerns: parent-professional relationships, ear, nose, and throat, nutrition and feeding, dental Therapies: language and speech therapy, physical therapy New Expectations: the impact of having a child with Down syndrome on the family and the world

Heartwarming footage of young children with Down syndrome is interspersed with the interviews with parents and experts. Throughout, perspectives provided by veteran parents who share their joys and concerns will reassure new parents. DOWN SYNDROME: The First 18 Months is an inspiring and educational video for parents who want to know more, and an excellent tool for support groups, medical professionals, and libraries to support families.

Discovery: Pathways to Better Speech for Children with Down Syndrome
Written, produced, and directed by Will Schermerhorn
DVD Release Date: 2005

For children with Down syndrome, it is essential to lay the foundation for speech development as early as possible. To achieve the best possible results, the latest research shows that an integrated approach to speech development is most effective, including the combined use of spoken words with sign language and text, paying attention to hearing loss, and addressing intelligibility issues. Now, parents who are looking for information and guidance on their child’s speech development have a new resource to rely on.

DISCOVERY: Pathways to Better Speech for Children with Down Syndrome, is an 81-minute DVD from Blueberry Shoes Productions, the publisher of DOWN SYNDROME: The First 18 Months. This invaluable resource offers practical advice, examples, and expertise for parents and professionals to follow as they help children with Down syndrome from infancy to age seven become the best talkers they can be.

An international group of experts on speech development and Down syndrome appear on the DVD, including Dr. Libby Kumin, Professor Sue Buckley of the Down Syndrome Educational Trust, and physicians Sally Shott and Siegfried Pueschel. These and other experts discuss their methods and explain how to put them into practice. Additionally, the DVD features knowledgeable parents who comment on what techniques and approaches have worked best for their children. And children with Down syndrome also appear throughout the DVD, demonstrating the range of achievement that parents can expect.

DISCOVERY makes an excellent companion resource to Dr. Kumin’s two books, EARLY COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDOME and CLASSROOM LANGUAGE SKILLS FOR CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME, from Woodbine House’s Topics in Down Syndrome series. Highly recommended for parents, this DVD should also be shared with speech-language pathologists, teachers, and anyone who is interested in finding the best ways to help children with Down syndrome reach their full potential.

Signing Time Volume 1-3 DVD Gift Set
- $59.99
The Volume 1-3 Gift Set contains My First Signs DVD, Playtime Signs DVD, Everyday Signs DVD, and the accompanying music CD!

Signing Time Volume 4-6 DVD Gift Set
- $59.99
The Volume 4-6 Gift Set contains Family, Feelings, & Fun DVD, ABC Signs DVD, My Favorite Things DVD, and the accompanying music CD!

Signing Time Volume 7-9 DVD Gift Set
- $59.99
The Volume 7-9 Gift Set contains Leah's Farm DVD, The Great Outdoors DVD, The Zoo Train DVD, and the accompanying music CD!

Signing Time Volume 10-13 DVD Gift Set
- $79.99
The Volume 10-13 Gift Set contains My Day DVD, My Neighborhood DVD, Time to Eat DVD, Welcome to School DVD, and the accompanying music CD for Volumes 10-12.

Signing Time Series One DVD Collection
- $249.99
This is it! The Full Collection of the Signing Time series in one package. This package includes thirteen DVDs and four music CDs.

Series Two Vol. 1-3 DVD Gift Set
- $57.99
Alex, Leah, their frog Hopkins, and Signing Time’s Rachel Coleman return for a second series of charming animation, delightful songs and children signing that make any time Signing Time.

Series Two Vol. 4-7 Gift Set
- $79.99
My Favorite Season: Sing and sign your way through the changing seasons with My Favorite Season. Which is your favorite season? Includes a special feature on Holiday signs.Going Outside: Let's go outside today! In Going Outside you'll learn signs for many of the beautiful things in nature. Has a special feature including hilarious outtakes.Days of the Week: In Days of the Week you’ll learn signs for the days of the week, and see what some families do on each day. You’ll also learn to sign first, second, third, and so on.My Favorite Sport: In My Favorite Sport you’ll learn signs for Alex and Leah’s favorite sports. What’s your favorite sport? Includes an exclusive interview with Leah Coleman!

Series Two Vol. 8-10 DVD Gift Set
- $59.99
Vol. 8 My House: Take a singing and signing tour of the rooms in a house. Learn signs for kitchen, bathroom, family room, and the furniture you'll discover in these rooms. Vol. 9 My Things: Learn the signs for lots of your things. When playtime is over, everything goes back to its "right place." Learn signs for toys, make the bed, books, clean up, closet, and more. Vol. 10 Helping Out Around the House: Discover that work feels like play as you sing and sign your way through household chores! Learn signs for wash dishes, fold, help, clear the table, wash clothes, and more.

Series Two Vol. 11-13 DVD Gift Set
- $57.99
Introduce Volumes 11-12 after you've mastered Volumes 1-10 and Series One, or use them at any time to enhance your ASL vocabulary.

Signing Time Series Two DVD Collection
- $229.99
Marked down from its full retail price of $269.87, the DVD Series Two Collection is a steal at $189.99! This bundled collection contains all the currently available Series Two DVDs and music CDs.

Books about Down Syndrome

Babies With Down Syndrome (The Special-Needs Collection)
Edited by Karen Stray-Gundersen
Revised Paperback, 340 pages, Published by Woodbine House, Publication date: December 1, 1995

In the delivery room when my son Mikey was born, we were told he had Down syndrome. We knew very little about the condition and were confused and frightened about the future. Our son's geneticist gave us a copy of this book and it answered almost all of our questions, including some we never thought to ask. The information in this book relieved many of our fears and showed us how to be the best parents for our son. The book starts with a forward by Ann M. Forts, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Down Syndrome Congress; the New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council; and the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. Ms. Forts also happens to be a person with Down syndrome. Right away, we knew this book was going to be positive! The book starts with a chapter on what is Down syndrome followed by a chapter on adjusting to your new child. Chapter 3 discusses some of the medical issues that are associated with Down syndrome. This is good information to be aware of even if you never need it. The next few chapters discuss taking care of your baby, family life, how your baby will develop, early intervention, and educating the child with Down syndrome. The last chapter covers your legal rights. Every chapter has several pages of short quotes from parents. It helped to lessen the fear and stress to read that other parents are coping. This is by far the best book for the new parent of a child with Down syndrome. Before you read anything else, you will want to read this book.
(A Spanish version of this book is available)

A Parent's Guide to Down Syndrome: Toward a Brighter Future
by Siegfried M. Pueschel M.D.
Paperback - 352 pages 2nd edition, Paul H Brookes Publishing Company, Publication date: October 1, 2000

Dr. Pueschel is well known as an advocate for people with Down syndrome, a leading expert in the field, and a father of a child with Down syndrome. A noted speaker at Down syndrome conferences across the country, Dr. Pueschel has revised his popular book with the latest information. The book covers a range of topics from prenatal diagnosis to stimulating your child's gross motor, fine motor and speech skills to pre-school to adolesence and on to adulthood. It also covers vital information about the most current legislation including IDEA 1997. This is one of the books that should be on every new parent's bookshelf.

Down Syndrome: The Facts
by Mark Selikowitz
Paperback Second Edition, 192 pages, Published by Oxford University Press, Publication date: June 1997

Written by an Australian pediatrician, this book is both positive and informative. The book presents a great deal of material but does it in an clear and accessible style . The author is extremely optimistic about the future of people with Down syndrome and this optimism shows in his writing. The material covered includes early childhood development, school, adolescence, and adulthood. Laws in the US, UK, and Australia are covered.

Understanding Down Syndrome: An Introduction for Parents
by Cliff Cunningham
Revised Paperback, 244 pages, Published by Brookline Books, Publication date: April 1996

This book is also an excellent introduction to Down syndrome. The author of this book is British so it does not concentrate on US law as much as the book "Babies With Down Syndrome". This is the book to read after you have had a chance to catch your breath and are ready to learn some of the practical issues of raising a child with DS. This book has an older edition, so make sure that you get the newest edition. (A Spanish version of this book is available)

Down Syndrome: Visions for the 21st Century
by Terry J. Hassold (Editor), David Patterson (Editor)
Paperback, Published byJohn Wiley and Sons, Publication date: May 1999

At the NDSS annual conference in Washington, DC in 2000, the sponsors asked the participants to share their ideas. This book is a result of that request. Many of the names will be familiar to those who live in the world of Down syndrome. There are articles by Martha Beck Ph.D. and Siegfried Pueschel M.D. on the role of the family; Len Leshin M.D., Pat Winders P.T., and William Cohen M.D. on health issues; George Capone M.D. and Joan Medlen R.D. on psycho-social issues; and Chris Burke on living with Down syndrome; as well as a host of others. The book also features articles on communication, inclusion, advocacy, research, and self-determination. There is a wealth of very useful information in this book. David Patterson Ph.D. writes about the human genome project and what impact it may have on understanding Down syndrome. Libby Kumin, Ph.D. writes about maximizing communication and language skills in infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents. Patricia Logan Oelwein, M.Ed. writes about math and reading skills in children with Down syndrome. There are also a few lesser known names in here such as John Peter Illarramendi, Jeffrey Mattson, Mia Peterson, and Joshua G. O'Neill, all people with Down syndrome who write about their lives, hopes, and dreams. They remind us that people with Down syndrome can achieve a great deal and can live wonderfully fulfilling lives. This isn't a book for a new parent and it certainly shouldn't be your first book on Down syndrome. There are other books such as "Babies with Down Syndrome," that would be a better choice as a first book. But this book does provide a lot of very useful and interesting information. Anyone interested in finding out what is going on in the world of Down syndrome will want to get a copy.

Down Syndrome: A Promising Future, Together
by Terry J. Hassold (Editor), David Patterson (Editor)
Paperback, Published byJohn Wiley and Sons, Publication date: May 1999

This book is a collection of 34 articles summarizing many of the presentations at one of the recent NDSS annual conferences. The list of authors read like a who's who of the Down syndrome community. The book is divided into ten sections with articles ranging from advocacy to communication to education to the role of the family. The last section is made up of six articles written by people with Down syndrome. The book is very similar to the more recently published "Down Syndrome: Visions for the 21st Century." But this book is not replaced by the new edition. The articles in this book are different and are still very much worth reading. This isn't a book for a new parent and it certainly shouldn't be your first book on Down syndrome. There are other books such as "Babies with Down Syndrome," that would be a better choice as a first book. But this book does provide a lot of very useful and interesting information. Anyone interested in finding out what is going on in the world of Down syndrome will want to get a copy.

Caring for the Child with Down Syndrome

Gross Motor Skills in Children With Down Syndrome:
A Guide for Parents and Professionals (Topics in Down Syndrome)
by Patricia C. Winders, P.T.
Paperback, 256 pages Published by Woodbine House Publication date: August 1, 1997

Children with Down syndrome often have low muscle tone (hypotonia) and increased flexibility which can affect overall gross motor development. There are many issues that parents need to be aware of if their child has hypotonia. Even the way you hold your baby can affect his gross motor development. This book shows how to encourage and maximize a child's gross motor development - head control, rolling, sitting, cruising, walking, kicking, jumping - from infancy to age six. Pat Winders has written the "bible" of physical therapy for children with Down syndrome. It contains useful information for parents, therapists, and teachers.

Fine Motor Skills in Children With Down Syndrome
by Maryanne Bruni
Woodbine House; 2nd edition (March 30, 2006)

The popular book, Fine Motor Skills for Children with Down Syndrome is now available in an expanded new edition. Written by an occupational therapist who has worked extensively with children with Down syndrome, and is also the mother a teenager with Down syndrome, this book explains the best practices and procedures for helping children master daily living skills for home, school, and an independent future.

The author presents a thorough overview of the building blocks of fine motor development and how the characteristics of Down syndrome can impact the acquisition and progression of fine motor skills.

She also explains the building blocks of fine motor development:

  • Stability
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Sensation
  • Dexterity
  • Early arm and hand control

And important daily living skills for home and school:

  • Dressing & grooming
  • Eating & drinking
  • Cutting
  • Grasping a pencil
  • Preprinting skills
  • Drawing
  • Printing
  • Cursive handwriting

There are instructions for dozens of easy home- and school-based activities, which help children gradually overcome delays and learn the fine motor skills mentioned above. The author suggests ways for parents to incorporate these exercises into as many day-to-day activities as possible, recognizing how impractical it is to constantly be in “therapy” mode with a child.

New material includes a chapter on problems with sensory processing for those who are over- or under-responsive to touch, or have unexpected reactions to sound, pain, or other sensations. Being aware of these sensitivities can open pathways to better behavior and responsiveness to therapy. Also new is information about a critical developmental step--determining when a child is ready for preprinting activities. These and many other additions make this the most up-to-date, comprehensive resource on fine motor development for children with Down syndrome.

Early Communication Skills in Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents
by Libby Kumin
Paperback (July 2003)

Children with Down syndrome have a wide range of speech and language abilities, and most need the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) beginning at birth to maximize communication development. Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome explains the role of a SLP, the stages of communication development, and how certain characteristics of Down syndrome, such as low muscle tone, hearing loss, and cognitive delays, can slow progression of those skills. Delays can lead to frustration and other problems for children who do not have intelligible speech until age 2 or later.

This new book is the updated, expanded edition of Communication Skills in Children with Down Syndrome. It focuses on speech and language development from birth through the stage of making 3-word phrases, which is often around kindergarten age, but can occur later. This book offers parents a wealth of information on intelligibility issues, hearing loss, apraxia (difficulty planning oral-motor movements), and other factors that affect communication for children with Down syndrome. It explains how to prepare for and understand the results of a speech-language assessment, and goes on to describe what to expect in the years ahead when a child enters elementary school.

Classroom Language Skills for Children With Down Syndrome:
A Guide for Parents and Teachers (Topics in Down Syndrome)
by Libby Kumin
Woodbine House - 339 pages (October 2001)

This book picks up from where Dr. Kumin's earlier book, "Communication Skills in Children with Down Syndrome" leaves off. Aimed at the elementary and middle school years, this book is about developing good communication and learning skills. Parents and teachers interested in reading skills will want to look at, "Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome," by Patricia Logan Oelwein. I have had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Kumin speak and she is undoubtedly one of the leading expert on communication skills in children with Down syndrome. The book starts with a look at what language skills a child will need in school and then goes on to discuss building a team and a curriculum to reach that goal. The main topic of the book is how to help the child with Down syndrome learn in an inclusive environment. Dr. Kumin shows us that children with Down syndrome can learn and can succeed but they may need to have the curriculum adapted to their needs. For example, she shows how worksheets can be confusing for a child with Down syndrome but she also shows how they can be easily adapted to make them less confusing. Many children fail, not because they don't understand the material but rather because they have trouble following complicated multi-step instructions. One specific example she discusses is math word problems. The complex language of the word problem can be very difficult for the child to understand even though they have no difficulty doing the actual math problem. Dr. Kumin discusses how IDEA requires that children with disabilities be given accommodations in order to help them be fairly assessed. As a parent or a teacher you will want to read this book. The research discussed and the many ideas put forth can help a child succeed and build self confidence where before there was fear and failure. If you are a teacher of a child with Down syndrome, buy this book. If you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome then buy two copies, one for yourself and the other for your child's teacher.

Medical & Surgical Care for Children With Down Syndrome:
A Guide for Parents (Topics in Down Syndrome)
Edited by D. C. Van Dyke, M.D., Philip Mattheis, M.D., Susan Schoon Eberly, M.A., and Janet Williams, R.N., Ph.D.
Paperback, 395 pages, Published by Woodbine House, Publication date: June 1995

Children with Down Syndrome are at increased risk for many medical problems. As a parent, it is important to understand these risks, be able to recognize potential problems, and also become familiar with many of the medical specialists you will encounter even if your child is healthy. This book discusses all of the common medical problems you may be faced with in a way that can be understood by a parent. Armed with the information in this book, a parent will be able to make vital decisions regarding their child's health and cope more comfortably if medical care is required. Topics discussed include: heart disease, endocrine problems, skin conditions, gastrointestinal problems, and many others.

Negotiating the Special Education Maze:
A Guide for Parents & Teachers
by Winifred Anderson, Stephen Chitwood (Contributor), Deidre Hayden (Contributor)
Paperback, 264 pages, Published by Woodbine House, Publication date: June 1997 (Third Edition)

Now in its third edition, Negotiating the Special Education Maze is one of the best tools available to parents and teachers for developing an effective special education program for their child or student. Every step is explained, from eligibility and evaluation to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and beyond. This edition discusses changes in disability laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It reviews early intervention services for children from birth to age three, and for those who have young adults with special needs, it also covers transitioning out of school. (A Spanish version of this book is available)

Teaching Reading to Children With Down Syndrome:
A Guide for Parents and Teachers (Topics in Down Syndrome)
by Patricia Logan Oelwein
Paperback, 371 pages, Published by Woodbine House, Publication date: February 1995

Reading is an essential, enriching, and attainable skill for children with Down syndrome. This guide presents a nationally recognized reading program for children with Down syndrome that can be used to effectively meet a child's unique learning needs and style. The reading method and lessons presented here are specifically designed to be motivating, fun, and rewarding. Filled with sample flash cards, games, charts, and recommended story books, the program emphasizes the visual learning style typical of most children with Down syndrome. Parents can customize lessons to capture their child's interests and set the learning pace to a level for greatest success. This step-by-step guide to reading allows parents to work with their child at home and helps them coordiate reading lessons with teachers, ensuring the continuity of their child's education year after year.

Teaching Math to People With Down Syndrome and Other Hands-On Learners, Book 1: Basic Survival Skills
by Deanna Horstmeier, Ph. D.
Woodbine House, Release Date: July 1, 2004

TEACHING MATH TO PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME is the book that everyone has been waiting for! Now parents and educators can use this guide to teach meaningful math to students--with and without learning problems--who struggle with understanding computation, number concepts, and when and how to use these skills.

The author, an experienced educator, was inspired to write TEACHING MATH to meet the needs of hands-on learners after observing the difficulty her adult son with Down syndrome and his peers had in applying math skills to everyday life.

For years, the math program explained in TEACHING MATH has been successfully used with preschoolers, children, and adults with Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other cognitive disabilities. Its success lies in capitalizing on the visual learning strengths of these concrete learners and using manipulatives, games, and activities to teach and maintain motivation. A key feature of this method is the early introduction of the calculator, which allows students to progress in their understanding of math without having to memorize math facts. This book can be used to help students learn the critical math survival skills needed for living independently or help students in their math curricula at school.

Wrightslaw Series
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide
Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004
Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind
by Peter W. D. Wright, Pamela Darr Wright

Special education law is more than a legal specialty niche. Special education laws govern eligibility, IEPs, evaluations, placement, educational progress, transition plans, discipline, and educational records - and are vitally important to parents of disabled children, educators, child advocates, school psychologists, health care providers, and school administrators.

Peter and Pamela Wright accomplish several goals in these comprehensive reference books. They provide an overview of special education law, specifically the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and implementing regulations. They include a casebook of special education decisions by the U. S. Supreme Court, including Florence County School District IV v. Shannon Carter and the recent decision in Cedar Rapids v. Garret F. Woven through the books are clear, concise definitions, information about educational research, and practical tips about how to deal with school officials.

The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook: A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
by Joan E. Guthrie Medlen
Paperback (November 2002)

Many parents of children with Down syndrome would like to help their child improve nutrition and manage weight, but don't know where to begin. Now, this much-needed book looks at all aspects of nutrition and healthy living for children with Down syndrome, from birth through young adulthood. The author, a mother of a child with Down syndrome and a registered dietitian, encourages parents to start teaching healthy habits early but stresses that it's never too late to start, no matter what age. Based on years of personal and professional experience and supported by the latest medical research and insights from other parents and adults with Down syndrome, chapters cover: Breast and bottle feeding, Basic nutrition and physiology, Celiac disease, Diabetes, Alternative therapies, Food and school, Weight management, Fitness and exercise, Cooking and menu planning, Education activities.

The appendices contain cookbook lists, information on calculating calorie needs, and more. Resource and reading lists round out this practical, comprehensive guide. With this handbook, parents, dietitians, and therapists will understand the connection between Down syndrome, diet, and nutrition, and be in a better position to guide children toward a healthier future.

Personal Stories

You Will Dream New Dreams: Inspiring Personal Stories by Parents of Children With Disabilities
by Stanley D. Klein and Kim Schive
Paperback, Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation, Publication date: April 2001

Knowing that "parents' strongest allies will always be other parents," Klein and Schive have collected from all over the country stories by parents of children with special needs. You Will Dream New Dreams is a remarkable parent's support group in print. The shared narratives come from those with newly diagnosed children, adult disabled children, and everything in between; their stories are short and unfold in plain language just what the parent suffering from informational and emotional overload needs. These experiences offer hope and encouragement and serve as a reminder that there are others out there who can help. The appendix includes resources to help parents track down local information and support. Klein is a cofounder of Exceptional Parent magazine and Schive is an associate editor there. - Library Journal

More Than a Mom: Living a Full And Balanced Life When Your Child Has Special Needs
by Heather Fawcett and Amy Baskin
Woodbine House (April 30, 2006)

More Than a Mom explores how women can lead rich, fulfilling personal lives while parenting a child with special needs. The authors’ skillful blend of research, personal experiences, and survey feedback from over 500 mothers across North America results in a book that is jam-packed with practical strategies, advice, and reassurance for mothers trying to create more manageable and fulfilling lives.

More Than a Mom addresses the universal concerns and questions of all mothers, coupled with the added intensity of raising children with disabilities. This how-to guide looks at the challenges mothers face at home, at work, and within themselves, with special attention paid to:

  • Staying healthy both physically and emotionally
  • Keeping friendships
  • Parenting your other children
  • Staying organized
  • Maintaining your marriage
  • Nurturing interests and goals
  • Seeking flexible work options
  • Changing careers or starting a business
  • Rejoining the workforce
  • Finding specialized childcare
  • Advocating for your child

The mothers who were interviewed for the book have diverse backgrounds and family dynamics. Given their differences and the fact that their children have such varied disabilities, it’s striking that these mothers face such similar issues. More Than a Mom provides mothers with many voices and solutions that will resonate with their own circumstances. Husbands, extended family, friends, support organizations, and service providers will also want to read this insightful and fact-filled book.

Riding the Bus With My Sister: A True Life Journey
by Rachel Simon
Plume Books

My daughter Elizabeth picked this book. We met the author, Rachel Simon, at the NDSC conference and she signed a copy of the book for Elizabeth.

This perceptive, uplifting chronicle shows how much Simon, a creative writing professor at Bryn Mawr College, had to learn from her mentally retarded sister, Beth, about life, love and happiness. Beth lives independently and is in a long-term romantic relationship, but perhaps the most surprising thing about her, certainly to her (mostly) supportive family, is how she spends her days riding buses. Six days a week (the buses don't run on Sundays in her unnamed Pennsylvania city), all day, she cruises around, chatting up her favorite drivers, dispensing advice and holding her ground against those who find her a nuisance. Rachel joined Beth on her rides for a year, a few days every two weeks, in an attempt to mend their distanced relationship and gain some insight into Beth's daily life. She wound up learning a great deal about herself and how narrowly she'd been seeing the world. Beth's community within the transit system is a much stronger network than the one Rachel has in her hectic world, and some of the portraits of drivers and the other people in Beth's life are unforgettable. Rachel juxtaposes this with the story of their childhood, including the dissolution of their parents' marriage and the devastating abandonment by their mother, the effect of which is tied poignantly to the sisters' present relationship. Although she is honest about the frustrations of relating to her stubborn sister, Rachel comes to a new appreciation of her, and it is a pleasure for readers to share in that discovery.

The Sibling Slam Book: What It’s Really Like to Have a Brother or Sister with Special Needs
by Don Meyer (Editor)
Woodbine House

Give teenagers a chance to say what’s on their minds, and you might be surprised by what you hear. That’s exactly what Don Meyer, creator of Sibshops and author of VIEWS FROM OUR SHOES did when he invited together a group of 80 teenagers, from all over the United States and abroad, to talk about what it’s like to have a brother or sister with special needs. Their unedited words are found in THE SIBLING SLAM BOOK, a brutally honest, non-PC look at the lives, experiences, and opinions of siblings without disabilities.

Formatted like the slam books passed around in many junior high and high schools, this one poses a series of 50 personal questions along the lines of:

  • "What should we know about you?"
  • "What do you tell your friends about your sib’s disability?"
  • "What’s the weirdest question you have ever been asked about your sib?"
  • "If you could change one thing about your sib (or your sib’s disability) what would it be?"
  • "What annoys you most about how people treat your sib?"

THE SIBLING SLAM BOOK doesn’t "slam" in the traditional sense of the word. The tone and point-of-view of the answers are all over the map. Some answers are assuredly positive, a few are strikingly negative, but most reflect the complex and conflicted mix of emotions that come with the territory. Whether they read it cover to cover or sample it at random, teenagers will surely find common ground among these pages and reassurance that they are not alone. It is a book that parents, friends, and counselors can feel confident recommending to any teenager with a brother or sister with a disability.

Choosing Naia : A Family's Journey
by Mitchell Zuckoff
Paperback - 288 pages (October 2002)

For a 1998 Boston Globe article, reporter Zuckoff interviewed Greg and Tierney Fairchild, a happily married, interracial professional couple who went for the usual prenatal screenings and came away with some very bad news: the fetus carried a major heart defect that could signal Down syndrome. Zuckoff's compassionate and informative medical cliff-hanger draws on extensive interviews with the Fairchilds, their families, friends and medical practitioners, as well as broad research into the history and science of issues related to the developmentally disabled. The story opens with Tierney's joyous "positive" result on the home pregnancy test. All is going well until, during a routine ultrasound, a doctor declares, "I think we have a problem here." More tests confirm the Down syndrome diagnosis. Up against Connecticut's 24-week deadline for elective abortions, the couple struggles with complicated ethical and practical concerns, since the newborn would have to undergo major open-heart surgery and face lifelong disability, in addition to other medical problems. In the end, they decide this will simply be one more challenge they'll face together. After Naia's birth, the Fairchilds struggle to keep her alive and fight to strengthen her for heart surgery, while working to develop her social and mental skills to the best of her abilities, which turn out to be great indeed. While Zuckoff's focus stays on the couple, he broadens the usefulness of their story with asides on the history of the treatment of the developmentally disabled, including the legal and medical issues such cases raise.

Common Threads: Celebrating Life with Down Syndrome
by Cynthia S Kidder and Brian Skotko
Band of Angels

Book Description
Common Threads: Celebrating Life with Down syndrome is an essay and photographic celebration of inspirational accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. Photographs are by nationally recognized Kendra Dew. This book is a perfect inspiration for new parents of a baby with Down syndrome. It is also ideal for parents of older children who see the great potential in their child. Common Threads received the 2002 National Media Award for print publication by the National Down Syndrome Congress. Recently, the book also received the Excellence in Media award from the State of Massachusetts.

About the Authors
Cynthia Kidder is the mother of three sons, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome. She is a writer and presenter to families and educators regarding maximizing the potential of young people with Down syndrome.

Brian Skotko is currently in his third year as a student at Harvard Medical School. He has two sisters, one of whom has Down syndrome and has committed a great deal of his professional energy to increasing awareness of the capabilities of persons with Down syndrome.

Expecting Adam:
A True Story of Birth, Rebirth and Everyday Magic
by Martha Beck
Paperback (February 1999)

"He says you'll never be hurt as much by being open as you have been by remaining closed." Expecting Adam is an autobiographical tale of an academically oriented Harvard couple who conceive a baby with Down's syndrome and decide to carry him to term. Focusing primarily on the pregnancy but floating back and forth between the present and recent and distant past, Martha Beck's well-written, down-to-earth, funny, heart-rending, and tender book transcends the cloying tone of much spiritual literature. There is no doubt that Adam--a boy who sees the world as a series of connections between people who love each other--is a tremendous gift to Beck, her family, and all who have the honor of knowing him.

Count Us in : Growing Up With Down Syndrome
by Jason Kingsley, Mitchell Levitz
Paperback - 182 pages (February 1994)

Kingsley and Levitz write about education, employment, ambitions, families, sex and marriage, and their disability--Down syndrome--in a dialogue format. At Jason's birth, the obstetrician said that he'd never learn anything and should be institutionalized. Fortunately, the Kingsleys ignored this advice, and their son has since attended school, written poetry, registered to vote, and memorized scripts for appearances on "Sesame Street" and "The Fall Guy."an equally successful young man whose mother was one of the founders of the Parent Assistance Committee on Down Syndrome. Hearing about Down syndrome directly from these young men has a good deal more impact than reading any guide from a professional or even a parent. Their comments are eye-opening and heartening.

Sometimes Miracles Hide:
Stirring Letters from Those Who Discovered God's Blessings in a Special Child
by Bruce Carroll (Editor)
Hardcover, 127 pages with CD (August 1999)

This tremendously touching book is inspired by the stirring letters Bruce Carroll received from those who were impacted by his song "Sometimes Miracles Hide." In these deeply moving letters of poured-out hearts and portraits of faith, you will see how God took what was first perceived as bleak news and circumstances and turned it into a miracle of discovery and devotion. Along with letters from people who discovered the "hidden miracles" of the Great Miracle Maker, you will be touched and encouraged by "victory stories" of special children and their families, beautiful Scripture prayers, and inspirational messages. With the enclosed CD of the song, this book makes a great gift for yourself or those who need to find the hidden miracles in their lives.

Angel Behind the Rocking Chair
by Pamela W. Vredevelt
Paperback (September 1999)

After the loss of her first baby and the birth of a fourth child with Down Syndrome, Pam Vredevelt felt that she had fallen from God's grasp. As she was soon to discover, however, God was just beginning to hold her tight and lead the way out of her endless pit of despair. With humor and touching insight, Pam unveils her struggle to emerge from darkness into the light in this paperback release of her popular work. Many have been touched by the same anguish; Pam shares their stories and how the supernatural touch of God sustained them through the darkest days of life.

Changed by a Child:
Companion Notes for Parents of a Child with a Disability
by Barbara Gill
Paperback, 336 pages (September 1998)

Barbara Gill is a writer, attorney, and disability advocate as well as the mother of a child with Down syndrome. In this book she shares short one or two page vignettes that honestly tell what she has experienced. With titles such as "Awareness", "Sorrow", "Magical Thinking", "Forgiveness", "Pain", she captures the emotions that parents of children with disabilities share. Each reading stands by itself and can be read over and over again. It is a book that you will always keep nearby and will want to read from for years to come.

Another Season:
A Coach's Story of Raising an Exceptional Son
by Gene Stallings and Sally Cook
Paperback, 240 pages, Published by Broadway Books (June 1998)

Gene Stallings was the head coach of Texas A&M;, the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, and the University of Alabama. More importantly, he is the father of John Mark Stallings who has Down syndrome. This book explains how Johnny affected Coach Stallings and made him realize that there are more important things in life than the next game. As we read the book we share in the Stallings family's 35 year journey from being told that their newborn son should be institutionalized to seeing Johnny grow to be a man with a full life. Coach Stallings shows us that life with a child with Down syndrome can be wonderfully rewarding.

From the Heart:
On Being the Mother of a Child with Special Needs
Edited by Jayne D. B. Marsh
Paperback, 149 pages, Published by Woodbine House (June 1995)

In eye-opening narratives, nine mothers explore the intense, sometimes painful, emotional terrain of raising a child with a disability. The children who have shpaed these women's lives have a variety of special needs including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and ADD. The narratives discuss the successes, setbacks, struggles, and joys these women experience. The common themes that emerge - being heard and feeling understood; dealing with greater emotional intensity than most parents do; coping; and healing - provide a vivid portrait of what these mothers and others like them find most important and most difficult.

Uncommon Fathers:
Reflections on Raising a Child With a Disability
Edited by Donald J. Meyer
Paperback, 206 pages, Published by Woodbine House (June 1995)

This book is not specifically about Down Syndrome but rather about what it feels like to be the father of a child with a disability. The stories in this book are written by fathers who are expressing a wide range of emotions from acceptance to anger to denial. Many of the stories in this book touched us deeply.

Differences in Common:
Straight Talk on Mental Retardation, Down Syndrome, and Life
by Marilyn Trainer
Paperback, 236 pages, Published by Woodbine House (November 1991)

A writer's collection of almost fifty essays that span more than 20 years of her experience as the mother of a son with Down syndrome. With poignancy and humor, Trainer explores a wide variety of issues, including family adjustment, public attitudes, inclusion, and independence. While her insights and nuggets of wisdom are shaped by the joys and frustration of raising a child with mental retardation, they so often strike a common chord in all of us.

Eric's Gift:
A Mother's Discovery of Love in the 47th Chromosome
by Kimberly Thompson
Paperback, 136 pages, Published by Eric's Gift Enterprises (July 1998)

Eric's Gift is the story of a small boy with a loving heart and the family that learns what unconditional love really means. Kimberly Thompson is the mother of Eric, a little boy with Down syndrome, and this book is the journal of her first two years being Eric's mom. Kimberly takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotions as she records the fear, anger, happiness, and love she experiences. Finally, the little boy with a congenital heart defect gives her the greatest gift; he teaches her to love unconditionally. This book is the gift that Kimberly gives us. Through it she shows us that we are not alone and that other parents are experiencing the same emotions.

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This page last updated on February 2, 2006.

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