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.
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And now, without any further ado, here are my favorite five books for encouraging 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.
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-El. Yes, this is a children’s book, but our whole family loves it. Typical dragons breathe fire, but Crispin cannot–instead he has an ability that is not so typical. Bar-El creates an entertaining and encouraging tale aimed at children who long to be appreciated for what they can do, and a gentle reminder to parents that if your child can’t do exactly what you expected, what they can do is pretty amazing too.
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 as a Christian special needs mom. Definitely a great read.
Sandra Peoples’ newest book Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities in a Special Needs Family is filled with Bible-based encouragement and practical and helpful tips for navigating the special needs parenting journey. I especially recommend it for anyone new to the special needs journey or seeking God’s plan and purpose in their special needs parenting journey.
This book is about learning to embrace the things in this special needs parenting journey that God longs for us to enjoy (such as our faith, our husband, our children, ourselves, etc), while releasing the things that are not healthy for us (such as unhealthy emotions, expectations, control, worry, isolation, etc). Each chapter is filled with scriptural truths and ends with reflection questions to help guide you toward spiritual victory and renewed purpose in your own special needs parenting journey.
There were so many good books to choose from, but these are my top five recommendations in no particular order. 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! 🙂