Are your child’s special needs a parenting challenge ! Parenting a child with exceptional needs might be the most gut-wrenching responsibility you will ever have. The journey required to guide your child with special needs to develop to his full potential can be overwhelming at times. Parenting a child with special needs cannot be done alone. You need services and support. Parents must be well informed to be the caregiver and advocate their child’s special needs. Where to begin? Who to believe? I recommend you get a copy of Dr. Louis Pellegrino’s book The Common Sense Guide to Your Child’s Special Needs: When to Worry, When to Wait, What to Do. If you have a child who is struggling, who is not meeting his developmental milestones, this is the book you need. Dr. Pellegrino clearly explains to parents what are the next steps to take.
In his foreword, Dr. Mark Batshaw, brings the reader peace of mind that the information on parenting a child with special needs found in this easy-to-use guidebook is very reliable. It is tried and true. Dr. Batshaw writes, “Dr. Pellegrino is a sensitive and expert developmental paediatrician who has had many years of experience in caring for the full range of children with developmental disabilities.”
The moms and dads parenting a child with special needs are immediately won over. Dr. Pellegrino starts by telling them the fact that they are reading his book means they have taken the first step towards helping their child: <They have recognized that there is a problem!>
How to use this 380 page resource book? Dr. Pellegrino advises to “trust your instincts”. Pin point your concerns about your child’s development and use his book to learn more about the problem. You will find suggestions to get a diagnosis, treatment, and listings of resources to guide your way.
The Table of Contents and the comprehensive index makes locating information easy. By reading the chapters that concern you, soon a fuller picture about possible causes for your child’s problems and helpful interventions will emerge. Chapters like the ones on Medications and Why Did This Happen will be beneficial to all parents.
If you are like me, when you glance at the chapter titles you will want to read them all. Each chapter will remind you of a child and his family that fall into each category of special needs. Knowing more about the challenges faced by these children and their parents will make you a better friend, family member, teacher, and health care professional.
About The Common Sense Guide to Your Child’s Special Needs
The Common Sense Guide to Your Child’s Special Needs is divided into two sections. Understanding Your Child goes into details about common areas of concern like some of the following:
- Speech and Language Development
- Motor Skills Development
- Developing Functional Independence
- Trouble with Social Skills
- Behavioral Control and Attention Skills
- Learning and Cognitive Development
Section 2 entitled Special Children, Special Needs focuses on Hearing, Vision, and Sensory Problems. Also in this part Dr. Pellegrino has a chapter on Special Medical Problems where he gives information on basic health care of children with special needs. Some of the topics he addresses are
- Growth and Nutrition
- Tummy Trouble
- Food Sensitivities
- Dental Care
- Seizures and Epilepsy
One topic I read with great interest was Tics, Twitches, Tremors, and Twirls: Unusual Movements in Children with Disabilities. I have family members with Tourette syndrome and I know Dr. Pellegrino’s information would have been appreciated when we first learned of Tourette. Also readers will value the detailed parts on Down syndrome, Spina Bifida, and Cerebral Palsy.
Features of the Book
To share the valuable experience gained throughout his career, Dr. Pellegrino often includes case studies to help his readers understand better. These true stories and the many quotes throughout the book make it parent-friendly and entertaining.
Each chapter ends with an convenient summary listing the basic steps to take if your child has the problems addressed in that chapter. Also there is a visual action plan in a figure/chart with the steps to take.
The retrieval of information is quick. Most of the content is easy to understand. Some sections are a bit complicated with perhaps more medical details than the ordinary parent wants. However they can read what they need and go on. For the reader that wants those details it is there; a win-win for all!
Traditional illustrations and tables aid comprehension and are an efficient manner to summarize information. Those parenting a child with special needs will refer to the following often:
- Milestones in the development of fine motor skills: Birth to age 5
- Later gross motor milestones
- Red flags for autism
The 19 page Resource section listing books and web sites that support each chapter is very useful.
The author has three ways to share additional information in attention grabber sidebars he named
- Seeds show key recommendations for intervention that are elaborated in the main text.
- Jargon Busters highlight and define confusing technical terms.
- FYI (For Your Information) has extra tidbits of information often interesting and entertaining.
Dr. Pellegrino gives this advice in one of the SEEDS, “There Are No Quick Fixes: Learning to be an effective parent is one of the toughest jobs you will ever have, but nothing can substitute for effective parenting. If your child’s behavior is concerning, the best way to help him is to make becoming an effective parent your top priority rather than focusing on finding a way to fix the behavior.”
I give five stars to this wonderful special needs parenting resource! The Common Sense Guide to Your Child’s Special Needs: When to Worry, When to Wait, What to Do by Dr. Louis Pellegrino will be a resource you will consult time and time again while parenting your child with special needs.
About the Author
Taken from Brookes Publishing web site: Louis Pellegrino, M.D. is a pediatrician who completed subspecialty training in Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics at the University of Rochester, New York. Following his fellowship training, he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as an assistant professor and was Medical Director of the Cerebral Palsy Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Children’s Seashore House. He is now Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
He has written extensively on the subject of cerebral palsy and maintains cerebral palsy as a primary focus in his clinical, teaching, and academic pursuits, working in a variety of medical and educational settings in collaboration with many different professionals who devote themselves to the care of children with developmental disabilities.
Dr. Pellegrino is board-certified in pediatrics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, and the Society for Developmental Pediatrics.
He lives in Hillsborough, New Jersey with his wife, Joan, and daughter, Elizabeth.
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