Friday, November 18, 2011

Teaching Your Child About Special Needs...

I've been hard at work lately... I'm working on a few Christmas decor projects, as well as trying to find presents for Santa Claus to put into B's toy box on Christmas. Also, I am celebrating one of Allen's family traditions for the first time this year for Brynn... St. Nicholas Day. This means trying to be a little more creative with gifts, since I don't have much time to waste-- St. Nick's is December 6th!

Luckily, B is in a phase where she LOVES books... Allen and I just love reading to her every night before we put her to bed. It doesn't take long for her to take control of turning the pages, though :)
So, I thought I would look for a few books that will help her through her early years, understanding and interacting with children who have special needs. She has a distant-cousin who has Down syndrome, and I want to help her understand the amount (and type) of support people with special needs and disabilities will need from her as she goes through life. 
Mostly, it is something that is very dear to my heart, and a life goal for me as a woman and mother. I hope and pray that my children feel comfortable and motivated to reach out to people who have special needs. I think for this to happen, it is important to teach them about disabilities and how to support and interact with any person who may have a disability.

I started out at to see what they had to offer... Here are some of the books that I came across.

My Friend Isabelle is a wonderful little book that teaches about difference and acceptance with simplicity and grace. Isabelle and Charlie are friends. They are the same age, but like most friends, they are different: Charlie is tall and knows "a lot of words," and Isabelle is short and sometimes her words are, "hard to understand." The sweet simplicity of their relationship is a reminder to everyone that "differences are what make the world so great." Young readers will love the bold illustrations and simple text, and parents will appreciate the message and the sensitivity with which it is delivered. At the end of the story readers meet the real Isabelle, and author Eliza Woloson briefly notes how Down syndrome makes her daughter and other children special. --Daphne Durham

For all those children who ask their parents why someone looks or acts "different," author and journalist Maria Shriver's What's Wrong with Timmy? provides a base for discussion. Kate's mother models appropriate behavior, speaking to her daughter calmly and directly, and providing examples from her own life to help Kate understand about Timmy.

Special People, Special Ways presents a positive image of persons with disabilities. It shares the message that even though each of us may have something different about us, we share many commonalities. Coupled with the colorful illustrations, the book conveys the message that although painful at times, being different can also be glorious. --Gerald J. Hime, Past President, Council for Exceptional Children

This last one is another great book for your child, though it doesn't have much to do with special needs... Right now, it's one of those that pulls at my heartstrings and makes the tears fall. :(

This treasure of a book, for people of all faiths, is a starting point for parents who must talk about the difficult topic of death with their children.
What should parents say when a loved one dies? Heaven is a difficult subject that always comes up at tough times, and Maria Shriver has written a very special book precisely for these stressful moments. What's Heaven? is the story of Kate, a little girl whose great-grandma has just died. She seeks answers, and her mother helps her learn about Heaven. The many questions in this book are real, coming from Shriver's own children, nieces, and nephews when her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy passed away. With 900,000 copies of the book now in print, the loving, confident, and ultimately uplifting answers Shriver provides are helping readers' families come together, feel closer to one another, and experience peace during the times when they need it most.

Hopefully this will help some of you with your Christmas lists as well! :)

Especially around this time of year, I think it's important to thank the LORD for all that he has given me... I am thankful for the perspective that He gives to me, and I am thankful for the life that he has blessed me with!

I will praise the name of God with song, 
And I shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

friday favorite things | finding joy


Lauren said...

Such great book ideas - I have never heard of any of these before!

stephanie said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I was just talking to my not quite 3 year old about this yesterday- we met a beautiful little girl at the park who had special needs and Maggie was inquisitive about her. I'm going to check those books out now. thanks!

Katie said...

I love this post. I just wrote about our son's life with Asperger's Syndrome. Thanks for sharing such wonderful resources.