If you're a parent 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. You can find yourself struggling with grief, anxiety, and/or depression, and experience a crisis of faith. You need all the help and support and encouragement and faith and hope you can get.
I've been there--I have two boys who both have special needs. And I also love reading. 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. Below are a few of my favorites that I often recommend to other special needs parents.
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This was a beautifully written book with an equally beautiful message. The author shares Biblical truths and her own personal stories to help you to grieve and wrestle with the questions you may be asking God, to help restore your faith.
I loved this book, and found things to highlight on every single page. I loved that chapters alternated between the mother and the father's perspective in their journey of raising two children with special needs, that this would make a fantastic book to read with your spouse. Their examples, relatability, and choice of Scripture passages made this such an encouraging book that was a huge blessing to me in my special needs parenting journey.
I'm sure you've heard of the five love languages, and this book is written just for special needs families. Gary Chapman and Jolene Philo share stories, advice, and practical tips to guide you toward understanding how to show your special needs child and your spouse love in ways that speak to their heart, despite the stresses and challenges that come with special needs parenting. I loved that this book addressed how to discover your special needs child's love language, as well as the importance of speaking in the love language of your spouse and neurotypical children as well, and provides you with the tools you need to do so.
This book is filled with Bible-based encouragement and practical and helpful tips for navigating the special needs parenting journey. I loved it and especially recommend it for anyone new to the special needs journey or seeking God's plan and purpose in their special needs parenting journey.
I adored this encouraging and empowering book! It highlights the qualities that help special needs parents keep pressing on, and makes you realize just how resilient and strong a special needs parent truly it. It is filled with beautiful stories of Jamie Sumner's journey parenting a child with cerebral palsy, and is also full of relevant Scriptures.
This is a fantastic book to encourage you in your prayer life as a special needs parent. The author has a daughter with autism, so I could really relate to this one. This book offers tons of encouragement and practical strategies to help you incorporate prayer into your busy life and to help you stay focused while you're praying.
If you're looking for a Bible study, then I highly recommend this one. In this four week Bible study, you'll read and answer questions about passages of Jesus interacting with caregivers to help you see how much He loves you and is caring for you while you care for your child(ren).
This is a book I wrote 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.
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.
I'll admit I haven't read this book, since well, I'm not a father, but I've recommended it to a few special needs dads and they've thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm glad to see that there is a book written specifically for the dads, because there is definitely a need there.
I put this under the special needs father category because it is written by a pastor whose son was diagnosed with special needs and about his journey of dealing with the grief and finding hope in his special needs parenting journey. But honestly, this is a great read for special needs mothers too. I listened to it on audiobook and loved the truths and stories sprinkled throughout. It's a great read for anyone struggling with any kind of grief in their life, but especially applicable to special needs parents.
There were so many good books to choose from, but these are my top recommendations.
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! 🙂