Top 20 Books on Parenting or Teaching Children with Special Needs Reviewed by Special Needs Book Review

Top 20 Books on Parenting or Teaching Children with Special Needs Reviewed by Special Needs Book Review

Thank you to all the following authors and publishers for making it possible for Special Needs Book Review to introduce your books on parenting or teaching children with special needs to our readers. Congratulations on a job well done to the authors whose books make the journey of bringing up a child with challenging issues easier. Most of these books are also beneficial to all parents and educators because their advice applies to all homes and teaching establishments as the common goal is to give adults the encouragement and a road map to help get their child or student on track to develop to his full potential. The books we have chosen equipped adults with the knowledge of how to stimulate a growing child and enhance his development. 

As Jeni Hooper, Child Psychologist and Parent Coach says in her book Step by Step Positive Psychology to Help Children Flourish, “The path to adult life is a long haul but offers an incredibly exciting journey.Ms. Hooper writes that the motto for her book is, “You can make a difference – every adult matters in a child’s life.”  She also adds, “Many children find themselves faced with unrealistic expectations from their parents now that families are smaller and parents have fewer close relationships to support their own emotional needs.” How to find the right balance for effective parenting?  Read Ms. Hooper’s book as well as the others on our list.

Special Needs Book Review is not paid for reviewing books. We are given the books by publishing companies or by the authors with no strings attached.  The reviews and our Top 20 Books on Parenting or Teaching Children with Special Needs are entirely our opinions of the books. The books are in random order.

Readers can follow the link in each paragraph to the complete review of each book. Also with each review you can find links where to buy them. Furthermore, many of the authors have participated in our Author Interview Series and you will find a link to the  interviews with the review of their book.

Please note our other “BEST BOOK LISTS” at the end of this post.


 Top 20 Books on Parenting or Teaching Children with Special Needs

Uncommon Beauty – Crisis Parenting From Day OneUncommon Beauty – Crisis Parenting From Day One -by Margaret Meder ~ The  book all parents of children with special healthcare needs must get their hands on. It should be in the hands of all parents with a special needs child from the day of his birth. Her chapter, Surviving the First Days, starts in the delivery room. Margaret Meder’s words will help you through your grief and her advice will make your life parenting a child with special needs doable and help you function to do what needs to be done. Meder will help you plan strategies that will carry you through this new, unexpected life. She gives you encouragement to do things differently because it is what is required now. If one thing doesn’t work out try something else. Review.
via amazon > buy special needs book



Your Child’s Motor Development Story:Your Child’s Motor Development Story: Understanding and Enhancing Development from Birth to Their First Sport – by Jill Howlett Mays, MS, OTR/L ~ By following Ms. Mays’ parenting advice on child motor development it will help children in various ways. They will be calmer, happier, and more confident. This feeling of well-being will show itself at home, in preschool, on the playground, and at school in the classroom and gym. Jill H. Mays guides you through each developmental stage of your child. She focuses on the appropriate forms of play that are most beneficial to your youngster’s sensorimotor development. Review

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The Common Sense Guide to Your Child’s Special Needs:

The Common Sense Guide to Your Child’s Special Needs: When to Worry, When to Wait, What to Doby Dr. Louis Pellegrino 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. How to use this 380 page resource book? The Table of Contents and the comprehensive index make 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.  Review

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Optimistic Parenting: Hope and Help for You and Your Challenging Child - Optimistic Parenting: Hope and Help for You and Your Challenging Child by V. Mark Durand, Ph.D. The author looks not only on the child with challenges but throughout the book parents and other caregivers will feel included. Not only included but on center stage, because Dr. Durand believes before a child can be helped, the caregiver’s thoughts and feelings have to be addressed. You will learn of promising, innovative approaches that emphasize the POSITIVE. Punishment is avoided. The goal is to teach skills to children that help them cope and teach skills to parents to get them on their way to a happier and more fulfilling life. Parents will learn effective behavior management strategies sprinkled with gentle humor from a highly regarded expert and a parent himself. Review

buy special needs book ^ via amazon


What Children Need to be Happy, Confident and Successful: Step by Step Positive Psychology to Help Children Flourish – by Jeni Hooper, Child Psychologist and Parent Coach Jeni  Hooper’s message and methods will fill anxious caregivers with hope. She lets you know in her first pages that the real and lasting difference in the wellbeing of your child now and for the future is in your hands but her practical guide book brimming with effective, simple suggestions reassures you and shows you the way. She says every adult has the tools to help a child achieve psychological wellbeing.  Her ideas are simple; require no material, equipment, or money.  Your time, your common sense and your love for your child will make following her suggestions possible.  Review

 via amazon > buy special needs book



Growing an In-Sync Child Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and GrowGrowing an In-Sync Child Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Growby Carol Kranowitz, M.A. and Joye Newman, M.A. Sage parenting advice is found tucked here and there in this book. The authors explain  sixty simple, fun activities that make up the In-Sync Program. The program is designed to give your child the movement experience he needs to get In-Sync.  The authors tell us that childhood motor development is the foundation for a child’s physical, emotional, and academic success. They show how even skipping, rolling, balancing and jumping can make a world of difference for our children. Review

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From Rattles to Writing: A Parent’s Guide to Hand Skills

From Rattles to Writing: A Parent’s Guide to Hand Skills by Barbara A. Smith, MS, OTR/L Did you know learning to write does not just happen by chance when you sit in a grade three classroom? Parents, you have an important role to play and it starts when your child is still an infant. This guide book has all parents need to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why do it. Barbara’s fun sensorimotor activities that get your child moving and touching helps your child’s brain to organize sensory information and learn. The gross motor skills and fine motor skills your child learns in the first five years will promote the visual-motor skills necessary for writing and reading. Review

 via amazon > buy special needs book


Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special NeedsDifferent Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs  –by Jolene Philo You feel you have been dealt the wrong cards? This is not the life you expected? You don’t know where to turn for help? Jolene’s book takes you by the hand and leads you from your first step after your gut feeling warns you something is not quite right with your child. She counsels you how to get that all important diagnosis, the services, the treatment, the support, and guides you through the education system, the insurance and government red tape, and at the same time, if you are someone of faith, the scriptural references will inspire and comfort you. Yes, all parents of a child with special needs can benefit from Different Dream ParentingReview

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Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child About the Joy of Food!

Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child About the Joy of Food! Practical and Surprising Tips from a Pediatric Feeding Specialist by Melanie Potock, MA, CCC –SLP  Melanie Potock is a speech language pathologist, a feeding specialist, and a mom herself. Melanie wrote this helpful, easy-to-read guidebook filled with parenting tips for busy parents in mind. When you turn the last page, you will surely be motivated and have the knowhow to make your family mealtimes happier ones. Her advice is educational, functional and fun! Her twelve years’ experience in the field shows through by the different coping strategies she offers. She wisely counsels to seek professional help for serious eating issues. Review

 via amazon > buy special needs book


Special Diets for Special Kids,Special Diets for Special Kids, Volumes 1 and 2 Combined: Over 200 REVISED and NEW gluten-free casein-free recipes, plus research on the positive effects for children with autism, ADHD, allergies, celiac disease, and more!  by Lisa Lewis, Ph.D. Do you know the WHY and HOW behind dietary intervention? Wished you knew more about the positive effects special diets seem to be having on children with autism, ADHD, allergies, celiac disease, sleep, behavior, etc.?  This book is much more than an ordinary cook book. There are 376 pages the size of a telephone book. This high quality books is worth every penny! The balance of text, photos and blank space is pleasing to the eyes. It is very well designed and user-friendly. Most pages have colorful photos of the completed dish. High-five Dr. Lewis and all responsible for this winning combination of recipes and the information parents want to know about the foods they prepare for their family. Review

buynow^ via amazon


The Kitchen Classroom: 32 GFCF Recipes to Boost Developmental Skills The Kitchen Classroom: 32 GFCF Recipes to Boost Developmental Skills  -by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, a freelance writer,educator, cooking instructor, the Philadelphia cooking Examiner, and author of four books. The mom-author suggest boosting developmental skills through cooking together. Much more that a simple cookbook, The Kitchen Classroom shows you how to work on your child’s weeknesses while you are cooking together. Gabrielle says her son  struggles with expressive language, attention and social interaction and cooking helps all of those challenges. It includes a book for parents and teachers with 32 quick and tasty gluten-free (GF) and casein-free (CF) recipes with specific teaching tips and a color photo of each finished dish. Also included is a CD-ROM with simple step-by step instructions and almost 500 color photos illustrating the process of each recipe in detail. Review

  via amazon > buy special needs book

Books Especially for Educators and Other Caregivers

Behavior Solutions for the Inclusive ClassroomBehavior Solutions for the Inclusive Classroom: A Handy Reference Guide that Explains Behaviors Associated with Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and other Special Needsby Beth Aune, OTR/L, Beth Burt and Peter Gennaro  A must-have guide to find how to most effectively help these children be happy and productive in inclusive settings. Small but mighty is what this handy, easy-to-use resource brings to mind. For teacher, homeschooling parents, special needs caregiver, day care… The detailed Table of Contents and efficient eleven pages of Index makes it a breeze to find solutions to your problems. This book is what the adults working with children need: in-the-moment behavior solutions that are a snap to find, easy to do, and effective. Review 



More Behavior Solutions IN and BEYOND the Inclusive Classroom More Behavior Solutions IN and BEYOND the Inclusive Classroom: A Must Have for Teachers and Other Educational Professionals -by Beth Aune OTR/L, Beth Burt and Peter Gennaro This book is a  companion for their first Bestseller.  Teachers, homeschoolers and all educational professionals know that inappropriate behavior occurs within all areas of the school, not only in the classroom. Educators and parents know that many students with high needs have a very difficult time between the bells… recess time, lunch time, playground time, assembly time, etc. What I especially like is their down-to-earth, realistic approach that works in our normal everyday, inclusive schools or any group settings. The language  is simple, economical  and clear.  The information is accurate, sound and dependable. The advice is easy to read, understand and remember.  Review



The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging StudentsThe Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students  -by Jessica Minahan, a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and special educator and Nancy Rappaport, MD ~ This book needs to be read by all teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents! The authors focus on the four most challenging students in our classrooms: students with anxiety-related, oppositional, withdrawn, and sexualized behaviors. The book concentrates on strategies for the K-6 grade levels …but it is GOOD for all parents and teachers! This book will be popular with school personnel and parents because of  its practical, doable solutions for children with behavioral challenges. Instead of dedicating time in a reactive, unproductive way with our students and children with challenging behaviors, the authors’ strategies are to put that time into proactive, productive ways to reduce the problem behaviors over time. Review


Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs Engaging with Nature to Combat Anxiety, Promote Sensory Integration and Build Social Skills by Natasha Etherington, a horticultural therapist.  The author says she was inspired to write this book for teachers, school counsellors, support assistants, and parents regardless of their horticultural know-how.  She feels that a horticultural therapy programme offers benefits not available in an indoor classroom. Ms. Etherington does a fine job of convincing her readers that not only do the children with special needs benefit from gardening but so do their peers, caregivers and educators. Gardening is motivational for the child and is great for the mental health of all involved. An added bonus for the adults is that gardening side by side with a child will show you a different side of his personality and increase positive behaviors. For parents, they can build lasting memories from sharing this gardening experience with their child. Review



Books on Mental Illness and Benefits of Therapy

Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family SupportDefying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support  by Paul Komarek & Andrea Schroer A guide book to recovery from mental illness. It is simply written for all families, friends or the individuals themselves who are looking for advice about the steps to take when mental illness is taking all they have… zest for life, relationships, friendships, career, and a happy childhood and school years. Families and friends have a role in the recovery process and this book has essential information to help people with symptoms and family members collaborate and support each other.  Review  (This review is of based on their first edition of  2010. Congratulations on their 2013 second edition!)




Benefits of Therapy – Sam Feels Better Now!  Sam Feels Better Now! An Interactive Story for Children – by Jill Osborne, EDS, LPC graduated from Toccoa Falls College in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Counseling Skills and Psychology ~ A consumable, soft cover, children’s picture book created especially for children ages 4-10 who need counselling. Going to therapy is a good thing! The benefits of therapy are for all ages.  A child who has experienced a traumatic event, crisis situation, or is experiencing grief often needs therapy to resolve issues brought on by what occurred. Professional counselor and child therapist Jill Osborne has written a resource to help therapists reach a child and get him to open up about his feelings. Review



Wonderful Book on Tourette Syndrome

Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide For Young People Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide For Young People by Dr. Duncan McKinlay  This is the self-help book parents and youth coping with Tourette syndrome must have. Dr. McKinlay, the psychologist with Tourette himself, is the perfect mentor for all these families looking for guidance about all things Tourette!  He discribes the purpose of his book as a book to help young people learn to stop bothersome tics and twitches (such as those found in Tourette Syndrome) and other nervous habits. His book shares management techniques, teaches behavioral treatments (habit reversal training, CBIT), fosters a positive attitude, and provides hope. Review





Terrific Book on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Unthinkable: A Mother’s Tragedy, Terror and Triumph through a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury

Unthinkable: A Mother’s Tragedy, Terror and Triumph through a Child’s Traumatic Brain Injuryby Dixie Fremont-Smith Coskie, a mother of 8 children  Dixie pours out her heart in a memoir revealing her raw emotions and her family’s fight to bring back their son, Paul, to his former self.  The author lets us in her most private thoughts; we feel her fear, her anger, and her interior struggle with God’s will about life or death. Above all we  learn valuable lessons we can store to bring out when our lives are shattered. The reader should never take life for granted after reading Unthinkable.  The accident is not the story, the aftermath to it is. And what a story!  The severe trauma to his head leaves Paul clinging to life, two months in a coma followed by almost five months in a rehabilitation hospital. We witness how her family moves on and the lessons learned from this life changing experience as Paul’s sibling go out into the world. Review



Book on Adopting or Fostering a Child from a Traumatized Background

Adopting a Child with Trauma & Attachment Disruption History: Adopting a Child with Trauma & Attachment Disruption History: A Practical Guideby Theresa Ann Fraser, C.Y.W, M.A., C.P.T. with a foreword by William E. Krill, LPC. Adoptive and foster parents have a generous, loving heart. Parents who love and bring up a child who is not their own have always held my high esteem. If you plan on going up a notch and are considering adopting or fostering a child from a traumatized background read this booklet first. The author uses case studies that help the reader understand the challenges that have to be overcome. Readers will appreciate her thirteen Questions Parents Should Ask and Discuss prior to the new child joining the family. The author also includes two full pages of links to resources and web resources.  Review



Please note our other “BEST BOOK lists”

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.