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Books on Parenting and Child Care for Special Needs Children

I saw these books by Jolene Philo from the First Wild Card Tours, of which I am a member, but I didn't request them for review. However, upon reading the free chapters (embedded below), I was touched and decided to share it here.

Image from Wikipedia.
Do you have a special needs child? Or have you ever experienced taking care of children with special needs? A special needs child includes those with physical disabilities and developmental disorders.

I think caring for them would be more difficult compared to a child without special needs. Unless they put them in a special child care, it would require the parents to spend more time with them. Their love tanks need to be full if they are to show them real tender loving care. It would take an enormous amount of patience and prayer really counts a lot.

I have met Janel's assistant teacher in Nursery last year and found out that she has a special child. I really admire her for the strength and love she's showing in taking care of her child.

It's not easy. I know, because as a Sunday School teacher in the Philippines, I have had the chance to have a down syndrome child in class and she and he were quite a handful. But, you know what? They are the sweetest children ever. I could still remember every time they see me, they would quickly come and give me a big hug.

That's why these books, Different Dream Parenting and A Different Dream for My Child, by Jolene Philo are really great resource books for parents with special needs child. These communicate that parents with special needs child are not alone. There are many who go through the same frustrations and emotional roller coaster, ask the same questions and come out victorious through it all.

The first book shares practical tips for parents with special needs child. The second book is a devotional for which can inspire and encourage through the scriptures and prayers. I like the first one as it answers the question whether "special needs children are a special gift from God or not." Read the excerpt below to find out the answer. I hope you like it too.

  It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Discovery House Publishers (November 1, 2011)

Discovery House Publishers (August 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Susan Otis, Creative Resources, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Jolene Philo has been a teacher for 25 years and has published numerous articles on parenting a special needs child and preparing children for a hospital stay. She is the author of Different Dream Parenting and Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs and a regular contributor to a regional monthly women’s magazine, has spoken to MOPS groups, and is a commentator for Iowa Public Radio’s “Iowa Voices.” She and her husband have two children and live in Boone, Iowa.

Visit the author's website.


Different Dream Parenting: Parents of a special needs child will benefit by Jolene Philo's handbook of resources, inspiration and tested wisdom. Practical strategies and spiritual reflections are balanced with resources for aid and information. From becoming an effective advocate for your child, dealing with hospitalization, to family concerns and long-term care, Philo presents wisdom from voices of experience. Hope-giving help, resources and direction are clearly provided for parents of a child with a medical condition, behavioral or educational concerns.

  • Product Details for Different Dream Parenting:

  • List Price: $12.99
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Discovery House Publishers (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572934670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572934672

A Different Dream for My Child: Hope and encouragement for the parents and caregivers of critically ill children comes in an inspirational devotional package. Jolene Philo shares personal accounts from her own experiences with a seriously ill newborn son. Interwoven are the stories of how other parents have found peace and hope, how they have dealt with hospitalization, private pain, grief, guilt and loneliness, and even the death of a child. Targeted scripture, simple prayers and questions for reflection provide a valuable spirit

Product Details for A Different Dream for My Child:

List Price: $10.99

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Discovery House Publishers (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572933070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572933071

AND NOW...Excerpts from both books:

 Different Dream Parenting Excerpt: 

I Didn’t Sign Up for This, God!

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you can’t move? The car is racing toward the edge of a cliff and you can’t lift your foot to press the brake pedal. An attacker is breaking down the door to your house and you can’t raise your arm to dial 911. Your child is about to run in front of a truck and you can’t open your mouth to scream.

My bad dream became a reality in 1982. My husband and I stood beside our son’s isolette in the neonatal intensive care unit. An IV needle pierced Allen’s tiny arm, and angry red scars crisscrossed his chest. One end of his feeding tube hung on a pole beside his IV bag. The other end rose from the soft skin of his tummy. Pain etched his wide forehead and tugged at the corners of his perfect rosebud mouth.

More than anything, I wanted to reach out and take his hurt away. But I was trapped in a bad dream. Immobilized. Inadequate. Helpless. Though God had assigned me to love and care for this beautiful child, I could do nothing to minimize his pain. My thoughts were an inward scream. This isn’t what I signed up to do, God! I don’t want to be a helpless onlooker. I want to parent my child. How can I care for him? What can I do?

As the parent of a child with special needs, you’ve probably experienced the same sense of helplessness. Whether your child is critically or chronically ill, mentally or physically impaired, develop- mentally or behaviorally challenged, you want to do something. You want to ease your child’s pain, but you don’t know how. You want to help your child realize his or her full potential, but you don’t know where to begin. You want to ask God about your child’s suffering, but you don’t want to be condemned for questioning His wisdom. You want to believe God is with you, but you don’t know how to find Him.

You’re stuck in a bad dream. You can’t move. You can’t speak. You want someone to shake you awake and tell you everything will be okay. Instead, you wake up and must become the parent you never expected to be. You doubt that you’re up to the task. You’re worried about your child’s future. And you’re wondering, Does anyone understand what I’m experiencing?

The answer is yes, many parents understand your situation. In the United States,
•        10–15 percent of newborns, or 431,000 annually, spend time in neonatal intensive care according to the March of Dimes.
•        12 percent of children between ages 1 and 17 had medical conditions serious enough to require hospitalization between 2004 and 2006, the most recent years for which statistics are available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
•        13.6 percent of students between ages 6 and 21 were enrolled in some kind of special needs program according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. That’s 706,000 of our country’s school-aged children.

Lots of kids mean lots of parents, dads and moms who are valuable sources of information and advice. In this book, dozens of them share with you the wisdom they gained while parenting kids with special needs.

Support can also come from the surprising number of professionals who work with families of kids with special needs. These professionals—and the resources they’ve created—are available at hospitals, medical facilities, government agencies, private organizations, businesses, schools, churches, and more.

This book brings you advice from professionals around the country and provides information about national organizations and resources. It also gives tips about where to start searching for state and local resources. More often than not, your problem won’t be a lack of resources, but a lack of awareness of them or inability to access them.

Different Dream Parenting contains six sections: Diagnosis, Hospital Life, Juggling Two Worlds, Long-Term Care Conditions, Losing a Child, and Raising a Survivor. Each section is divided into four chapters. Three chapters address practical issues. The last chapter in each section addresses spiritual concerns.

Parents of kids with special needs often wrestle with prickly spiritual questions. I sure did. Sometimes I still do. So do all the parents interviewed in this book, and most of the professionals, too. Every day, we continue to ask questions about our kids’ lives and futures. Gradually, we learn more about how to trust God’s timing and wait for His answers.

As you read this book, please ask your faith questions. Read about how parents and professionals learned to ask questions, wait, and listen. Consider the answers they have discerned and their suggestions about how to find comfort and courage in God’s Word. When you are ready, try out their ideas about how to pray and use Scripture to hear God’s answers to your hard questions. The thirty-day prayer guides in appendix A are designed to help you engage in conversation with Him.

But even with prayer guides and Scripture to guide you, I know how hard it can be to trust the God who is allowing your child to suffer. So I won’t condemn you for asking prickly questions. Instead, I’ll encourage you, cry with you, and support you when your faith grows weak. When you can’t hang on a minute longer, I’ll hold you close until your strength and your faith return.

I hope this book helps you break out of your bad dream, wake up, and move forward with joy and confidence. I pray that the stories of parents and professionals in this book will give you hope and strength.

Most of all, I hope you discover the truth God has revealed to me and many other parents. Raising a child with special needs isn’t a bad dream. It’s just a different dream. And surprisingly, a different dream can be the best dream of all.

Taken from Different Dream Parenting, © 2011 by Jolene Philo. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids,  MI 49501.  All rights reserved

A Different Dream for My Child Excerpt:

Children Are a Gift from the Lord, Period

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Psalm 127:3

From the moment Hiram and I learned of Allen’s condition, we knew he had a good chance of living a relatively normal life. And though his first five years were hospital
heavy, that prognosis proved true. He did well in school and participated in extra-curricular activities. Now an adult, he’s out on his own.

Not every child’s future is so rosy. Many parents of kids who survive an initial health crisis know their lives, and their children’s lives, will be quite different from what they once expected. If your child is one of those kids, you will grapple with the same issue Bruce and Peggy faced when their second child was a baby.

Their daughter Lacey, born in 1984, has the mental ability of a four or five–month–old infant. Her mental and physical disabilities weren’t immediately obvious to her doctor or her parents, though by the time her daughter was three months old, Peggy knew something was wrong.

Throughout the first year of Lacey’s life, her limitations became more noticeable. Her parents’ lives changed when they decided to keep Lacey in their home as long as they could. They understand that other parents who place severely disabled children in a care facility have made the right choice in their personal situation. “It’s not like one’s right and one’s wrong,” Peggy says.

“You have to do what God gives you peace about,” Bruce adds. The decision to care for Lacey in their home gave them peace. To accommodate their new lifestyle, Bruce changed employers. “I used to have a job where I traveled and was gone all the time. We knew when Lacey was a year old that I was going to have to be home a lot more.”

Early on, many well-meaning people acted like Lacey was a burden her family had to bear, especially for Peggy, whose life revolved around caring for their daughter. Once in a while, Peggy viewed her daughter in the same way. She began to question God. “Children are meant to be a gift from the Lord, not a burden, aren’t they? So why is Lacey a burden?”

Deep down, Peggy knew something was wrong with her thinking. One day she sensed God telling her to think about what the Bible says about kids: Children are a gift from the Lord. The light bulb went on, and she understood that the verse wasn’t just about the “perfect children,” the darling, whole and healthy, look-at-me children. “He doesn’t put any clause or condition on this statement. It’s just plain, ‘Children are a gift from the Lord.’”

In that moment, Peggy realized she’d been asking the wrong question. The question wasn’t whether Lacey was a gift or a burden. God said children are always a gift. Instead, He showed her the right questions to ask: How are you going to take care of this gift? How are you going to show the world that Lacey is a gift from the Lord? Those questions changed Peggy’s outlook about caring for her daughter. Every day, she tells herself, “I better act like this is a gift.” Over the years, she’s discovered that when she acts like her daughter is a gift, she thinks of her as a gift.

After more than two decades of caring for her daughter, Peggy wants to pass on this piece of advice to parents of special needs kids: No matter what your child’s level of need is — able to lead a normal life, in need of total care, or somewhere in between — you treat your child as a gift, you’ll think of your child as a gift. “This child is a gift from the Lord, period,” Peggy says. “Start with that foundation and move on from there.”

Father, forgive me for viewing my child as a burden. Teach me to act like my child is a gift, even during difficult times, so I will think of this child as a gift. Help those around me see my child is a gift, too.

Do I consider my child a gift from God? Do I treat my child like a gift? How do I show other people that my child is a gift?
Taken from A Different Dream for My Child, © 2009 by Jolene Philo. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids MI 4950l. All rights reserved.


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