If you’re a mom raising a child (or children) with special needs, you know the ache, the loneliness, the worry and fear that can become consuming if you let it.

I’m a reader.  Love reading.  And so I’m in my happy place when I stumble across a book that can encourage or enlighten me on this special needs parenting journey.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

And now, without any further ado, here are my favorite five books for the special needs mama heart:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  Ok, if you haven’t read this book, or watched the movie yet, you are truly missing out!  I read this book when it first came out (2012), before I had even really entered the world of special needs parenting.  I loved the book.  I reread it recently, when I learned they were making it into a movie, and loved it even more.  I could sooooo relate to the parents in the story, when before, I was mainly focused only on the main character, Auggie who has Treacher Collins syndrome.  It’s a beautiful story with a beautiful message that all people need to read, but a special needs parent can definitely connect with.


The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks. Did you know that Nicholas Sparks’ youngest son was diagnosed with autism, and became the inspiration for this book?

The Rescue is about a young boy named Kyle who is nonverbal, and his single mom, who makes great sacrifices to do the best she can to support his needs.  When his mother gets in a car accident, a volunteer fireman helps out, only to discover that Kyle is missing from the car.  The two must work together to find the boy (spoiler alert: they do find him quickly!) and form a friendship that both of them need but are reluctant to admit to.  This was a cute love story that I thoroughly enjoyed and could totally relate to the mother’s devotion to her little boy and her aches and worries while raising him.


The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism by Kristine Barnett.   This is the the inspiring true story of a mother so determined to help her nonverbal son diagnosed with severe autism that she pulled him out of school and decided to teach him herself, using the things she knew he was interested in.  Before long, her eleven year old son Jake was attending physics, astronomy and math classes at the college level, though he lacked proper social skills and couldn’t yet tie his shoes.  He actually delivered a TedxTeen Talk that is very interesting if you want to watch it. 🙂

I loved this book because I think we tend to focus on our children’s weaknesses and work to help them in those areas, but this mother realized (and inspired me!) to pour into her child’s strengths as a way to help him learn and function in the world.

Different: The Story of an Out-of-the-Box Kid and the Mother Who Loved Him by Sally Clarkson and her son Nathan Clarkson.  This book alternates with a fascinating chapter of Nathan’s perspective growing up, dealing with his various diagnoses, and what he remembers about his parents’ support growing up, and then a chapter from his mother Sally’s perspective.  The themes woven throughout is a faith-based encouragement to love and nurture the child God gave you, and the love this mother and child had for each other despite the challenges.  Reading each chapter from Nathan’s perspective was very eye opening for me, and in each of Sally’s chapters, I found myself agreeing with her vulnerable thoughts and struggles and doubts.  Definitely a great read.


Held: Learning to Live in God’s Grip by Sandra and Lee Peoples.  This is a short but encouraging read.  It is a Bible study written by special needs parents for special needs parents, reminding us that God is with us on this journey and that we have hope through this journey.

Highly recommend for anyone new to the special needs journey or struggling with their faith due to their child’s diagnosis.



Your turn!  What books did I miss that have inspired you as a special needs parent?  Or what are you planning to read now?  Share with us in the comments below!  🙂


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