03 Nov Learning to be a special needs parent.
Book review – Parenting For Down Syndrome 101 Total read time 2 and a half minutes approx.
Why you should read it. This book puts the person before the syndrome. The author, Natalie Hale, has an adult child with Down Syndrome and also teaches reading to people who have Down Syndrome. She uses a big yellow raincoat as a metaphor for Down Syndrome and encourages the unbuttoning of this heavy raincoat to see the personality of the child underneath. This book taught me to look for the girl underneath and fall in love with her. The new age spirituality in this book had great impact on me much like a warm hug would when coming in from the cold. Having just had Ariel, and the diagnosis at birth, I felt somewhat isolated and out in the cold. Here are some examples, from the book, of what I mean
- Imagine your child, the same little person, without Down Syndrome. Visualize this again and again. Realize as deeply as you can that this little person inside is the real person; she’s only wearing a bright Yellow Raincoat which doesn’t fit her very well. It doesn’t fit anyone terribly well. But its what we’ve got to work with, so we work with it.
- You’re the student, and your child is the teacher. And I will argue that in some significant level, it is conscious teaching: your child is aware that you are learning certain things that you need to learn.
- Hidden in this little package we call Down Syndrome, there is a life manual waiting for us, a manual that has nothing whatever to do with a syndrome and everything in the universe to do with truth.
- My sense is that our children with Down Syndrome do not judge others. I believe they see each human being as he really is, in their hearts, unvarnished and unveiled. With disarming accuracy, they sense the other persons character and heart and that is what they respond too, no matter what the persons appearance might be. I only wish that I and the rest of humanity might rise to that same standard.
- Each parent could write stories that would touch our souls and make us wonder about the real nature of our children.
Natalie has a lot of personal stories to share and also those of other parents. They are honest, heart-warming and uplifting. The chapters are short and broken up into small paragraphs for easy reading. Topics include the beginning years, discipline and school years. I give this book 4 and a half stars and recommend it especially to new parents of children who happen to have Down Syndrome.