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Resources – Parenting a Special Needs Child

Kaitlin Atkinson Family Resource Library

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Resource List for Parents

Resource List for Siblings of Special Needs Children

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Local Contacts

Resource List for Parents

Breakthrough parenting for children with special needs: raising the bar of expectations / Winter, Judy. -- San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006. 
This book provides detailed information on how to let go of the “perfect-baby” dream, face and resolve grief, avoid the no-false-hope syndrome, access early intervention services, and avoid the use of limiting and outdated labels. Also included are specific guidelines for working with professionals, understanding the law and inclusion, planning for the future, and insightful interviews.
FAM HV 888 .W56 2006

Building a joyful life with your child who has special needs / Whiteman, Nancy J. -- London: Jessica Kingsley, 2007.
This book explores practical ways parents can face the challenges of caring for children with physical, developmental and mental health disorders. Chapters deal with key topics such as coping with a diagnosis, discussing the child's needs with teachers, explaining a child's differences to their peers and building support systems for themselves and their children.
FAM HQ 759.913 .W54 2007

Children with complex and continuing health needs: the experiences of children, families and care staff / Hewitt-Taylor, Jaqui -- London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008.
The author focuses on the real life experiences of children and their families and provides valuable insight into living with complex and continuing health needs. 
FAM RJ 380 .H49 2008

Children with disabilities -- Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes, 2007.
This comprehensive text covers all of the developmental, clinical, educational, family, and intervention issues, and also includes student-friendly features: chapter objectives, vivid vignettes, a glossary of key terms, more than 200 helpful illustrations, and extensive appendices about cognitive testing and screening, medications, resources, syndromes, and inborn errors of metabolism.
FAM HV 888 .B38 2007

Don't call me special: a first look at disability / Thomas, Pat -- Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 2002.
This delightful picture book explores questions and concerns about physical disabilities in a simple and reassuring way. Younger children can find out about individual disabilities, special equipment that is available to help the disabled, and how people of all ages can deal with disabilities and live happy and full lives.
FAM HV 888 .T56 2002

Élever un enfant handicapé: tome 1: de la naissance aux premiers acquis scolaires / Della-Courtiade, Claude -- Paris: EME editions sociales francaises, 1998.
Ce livre a pour vocation d'aider les parents d'enfants handicapés à reculer les limites du handicap, depuis la naissance jusqu'aux premiers acquis scolaires. L'auteur, après avoir longuement travaillé dans des établissements spécialisés pour handicapés, partage son expérience et donne des conseils clairs et précis pour stimuler les enfants dans les situations concrètes de la vie quotidienne : alimentation, toilette, habillage, apprentissage du langage, de la lecture.
FAM HV 888 .D44 1998

Un enfant à découvrir: au-delà de la déficience physique et intellectuelle / Ferland, Francine --Montréal: Éditions de l’Hôpital Sainte Justine, 2001.
Destiné aussi bien aux parents qu'aux intervenants, le livre contient des notions sur le développement, des propositions d'activités pour éveiller la curiosité de l'enfant, lui apprendre à communiquer et à développer son sens de l'humour.
FAM HV 888 .F47

Les enfants différents: les comprendre pour mieux les aider / Ndayisaba, Joseph -- Montreal: Editions Logiques, 1999.
Les auteurs proposent une réflexion en profondeur sur divers aspects de l'enfant différent : les types de handicaps; la mésadaptation et l'inadaptation, les enfants traumatisés et les troubles de la communication orale ou écrite ; critères psychoaffectifs et rôle de la scolarisation ; et conseils pour aider ces enfants à devenir plus autonomes. Les enseignants, les parents, les psychoéducateurs et tous ceux qui œuvrent auprès des enfants trouveront dans cet ouvrage une information critique des plus utiles.
FAM HV 888 .N33

Exceptional children - ordinary schools: getting the education you want for your special needs child / Forman, Norm -- Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004.
This book addresses the educational concerns and needs of children with learning disabilities and other special needs. It's a comprehensive guide for parents seeking to improve the lives of their child's education, as well as resources on how to become a successful advocate for their needs.
FAM LC 3969 .F67 2004

Extraordinary friends / Rogers, Fred -- New York: Putnam, c2000.
How do you get to know someone in a wheelchair?  Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin. In his characteristically wise and gentle way, Mister Rogers challenges the stereotypes that often plague children with special needs and celebrates six children who are extraordinary friends.
FAM HV 888 .R63

Far from the tree: parents, children and the search for identity / Solomon, Andrew. -- New York: Scribner, 2012. 
Solomon's startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter. 
FAM HV 888.5 .S65 2012

Head cases: stories of brain injury and its aftermath / Mason, Michael Paul. -- New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 
In this book, we encounter survivors of brain injuries as they struggle to map and make sense of the new worlds they inhabit. Underlying each of these survivors’ stories is an exploration of the brain and its mysteries.
FAM RJ 496 .B7 M377 2008

I openers: parents ask questions about sexuality and children with developmental disabilities / Hingsburger, Dave -- Vancouver, B.C. Family Support Institute Press, 1993.
This book offers insightful and intelligent answers to real-life questions from parents, with the goal of teaching children with developmental disabilities about sexuality. The author has worked extensively with people with disabilities and he treats this subject not only with sensitivity but with good humour.
FAM HQ 57.2 .H56

Janet's got her period: planning for self-care in menstruation for girls and young women with special learning needs / Gray, Judi. -- Carlton, Australia: Social Biology Resources Centre, 1990.
This resource kit informs women and young girls with intellectual or physical disabilities about menstrual management and self-care. Using graphic depictions, the DVD and accompanying booklet give step-by-step instructions on what young women should know about menstruation.
FAM HQ 53 .G72 1990

Le jeune neurotraumatisé: soutenir le cheminement émotif et l'adaptation familiale / Poitras-Martin, Danielle. -- Montréal (Québec): Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2014.
Une atteinte au cerveau ou à la moelle éinière chez un enfant ou un adolescent entraîne une brèche dans son développement, une profonde blessure à l'âme et un important bouleversement familial. Dans un tourbillon d'émotions, un processus d'adaptation à une nouvelle réalité s'amorce. Il comporte des limites à apprivoiser et des potentiels à découvrir et à exploiter.
FAM RJ 496 .B7 P68 2014

Laying community foundations for your child with a disability: how to establish relationships that will support our child after you're gone / Stengle, Linda J. -- Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 1996.
This book emphasizes the need to start to build a caring community of people who will provide emotional support and guidance for your child after your death.  Chapters discuss: how to assess your child's needs; how to foster long-term relationships for your child; where to look for relationships; how to ask people for a commitment; and independent living arrangements.
FAM HV 888 .S73

Married with special needs children: a couple's guide to keeping connected / Marshak. Laura E. -- Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2007.
Eases concerns and addresses a broad range of marital and parenting issues that may be present when a couple has a child with a disability.
FAM HQ 759.913 .M27 2006

More than a mom: living a full and balanced life when your child has special needs / Baskin, Amy -- Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2006.
A book for mothers whose children have developmental or physical disabilities, mental health or learning issues, or chronic medical conditions. This book is designed to help you cope, adjust, and find the inspiration to make your daily life easier and more fulfilling.
FAM HQ 759.913 .B37 2006

Not what I expected: help and hope for parents of atypical children
/ Eichenstein, Rita. -- New York: Penguin Group, 2015.
As diagnosis rates continue to rise for autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and other developmental differences, parents face a maze of medical, psychological, and educational choices -- and a great deal of emotional stress. With an emphasis on practical solutions, the author walks readers through the five stages of acceptance and helps them understand their own emotional experience, so that they can embrace their child with acceptance, compassion, and joy.
FAM HQ 759 .E35 2015

Optimizing care for young children with special health care needs: knowledge and strategies for navigating the system -- Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing, 2007.
Ideal for anyone who directly assists or works with families of children with special health care needs and for parents themselves, this book explains how to effectively and efficiently manage the health care system and optimize care for children with any kind of special health care need.

FAM HV 888 .O68 2007

Ordinary families, special children: a systems approach to childhood disability / Seligman, Milton -- New York: The Guilford Press 2007.
This book offers a multi-systems perspective on childhood disability and its effects on family life. It discusses theory and research as well as practical intervention strategies and techniques.

FAM HV 888.5 S45 2007

Parenting children with health issues: essential tools, tips, and tactics for raising kids with chronic illness, medical conditions and special healthcare needs / Cline, Foster. -- Golden, CO: Love & Logic Press, 2007.
Offers parents of children with chronic health issues practical strategies and suggestions to help them cope with their child's condition and the constant physical and emotional challenges they may face.
FAM RJ 380 .C62 2007

Parenting your complex child: become a powerful advocate for the autistic, Down syndrome, PDD, bipolar, and other special-needs child
/  Morgan, Peggy Lou -- New York, NY: AMACOM, 2006.
This guide presents a practical system for combining information and observations about your child into a cohesive plan for his or her daily life, and for documenting and communicating the child’s individual needs in a way that guarantees attention and action. The book offers the professional and personal wisdom the author has gained through a life of advocating for special needs children, including her own.
FAM RJ 506 .B44 M73 2006

Raising a kid with special needs: the complete Canadian guide
/ Bendall, Lisa -- Toronto: Key Porter Books Ltd, 2008.
This is a comprehensive and friendly guide for families who are raising a special needs child. In clear, friendly language, the author presents a step-by- step guide to getting past the ‘special needs’ and on to the business of living. From health advice to school savvy, from financial tips to advocacy know-how, from focusing on family to facing the future, this book will guide parents through all aspects of parenting a child who has physical, developmental, sensory, or learning disabilities.
FAM HV 888 .B46 2008

Raising and educating a deaf child / Marschark, Marc -- New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
This second edition offers a readable, comprehensive summary of everything a parent or teacher would want to know about raising and educating a deaf child. It covers topics ranging from what it means to be deaf to the many ways that the environments of home and school can influence a deaf child's chances for success in academic and social circles. The new edition provides expanded coverage of cochlear implants, spoken language, mental health, and educational issues relating to deaf children enrolled in integrated and separate settings.
FAM HV 2391 .M26 2007

Raising NLD superstars: what families with nonverbal learning disabilities need to know about nurturing confident, competent kids / Whitney, Rondalyn Varney -- New York, 2004. 
Raising NLD Superstars is essential reading for all those who come in to contact with children with non-verbal learning disorders (NLD).  Instead of insisting upon the one size fits all model of intervention, the author focuses on the individual nature of NLD children and offers practical, adaptable advice that will help them find their place both in the family and in wider social groups. 
FAM RJ 496 .L4 R82 2004

Steps to independence: teaching everyday skills to children with special needs / Baker, Bruce L. -- Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing, 2004.
Proven strategies for teaching life skills to children from age 3 through young adulthood. Provides step-by-step guide for teaching seven types of skills.
FAM HV 891 .B16 2004

Troubles envahissants du développement: guide de stratégies psychoéducatives: enfants verbaux -- Montréal: Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2008.
Ce guide s'adresse aux parents et aux professionnels engagés auprès d'enfants âgés de 2 à 8 ans, atteints de troubles envahissants du développement (TED). Il fait un point sur les caractéristiques cognitives des TED, puis propose des moyens d'intervention adaptés à chaque enfant comme la communication, les interactions sociales et les comportements inappropriés. 
FAM LC 4704 .T762 2006

Understanding motor skills in children with Dyspraxia, ADHD, Autism, and other learning disabilities: a guide to improving coordination / Kurtz, Lisa A. -- London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008.
The author explains how to recognize normal and abnormal motor development, when and how to seek help and includes specific teaching strategies to help children with coordination difficulties succeed in the classroom, playground and home.
FAM RJ 496 .M68 K877 2008

The ultimate guide to sex and disability: for all of us who live with disabilities, chronic pain, and illness / Kaufman, Miriam -- San Francisco, CA:
Cleis Press, 2003.
This complete sex guide is for people who live with disabilities, pain, illness, or chronic conditions. Useful for absolutely everyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, the book addresses a wide range of disabilities — from chronic fatigue, back pain, and asthma to spinal cord injury, hearing and visual impairment, multiple sclerosis, and more.  It provides readers with encouragement, support, and all the information they need to create a sex life that works for them.
FAM HQ 54.2 .K38 2003

Yoga for the special child: a therapeutic approach for infants and children with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities / Sumar, Sonia -- Sarasota, FL: Special Yoga Publication, 1998.
An easy-to-follow program for parents, educators, yoga teachers, and health care professionals which includes: a step-by-step, integrated system of yoga poses designed to increase cognitive and motor skills in children with learning and developmental disabilities. Specialized breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to improve concentration and reduce hyperactivity.
FAM HV 888 .S85 1998

What I would tell you: one mother's adventure with medical fragility / Keon, Julie. -- Victoria, BC: Four Pillar Books, 2015.
When Julie and her husband, Tim, were about to become first-time parents, they were filled with anticipation and joy.  But unexpected complications at the time of their daughter's birth resulted in a brain injury. She was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy requiring significant life-long medical care. This book is the reflection and wisdom gathered from the first ten years of Julie's journey. She shares her thoughts on rekindling the joys of life for weary parents raising a child with special needs. This book is not only a beacon of hope for parents like Julie but is also a valuable guide to the professionals and helpers who care for children and families living with special needs and medical fragility.
FAM HQ 759.913 .K37 2015

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Resource List for Siblings of Special Needs Children

L'Accident de Marika: une histoire sur -- le handicap physique / Boonen, Stefan -- Saint-Lambert, QC: Chronos Magazines Inc. Éditions Enfants Québec, 2007.
Marika a été victime d'un accident qui l'a rendue paraplégique. Désormais en fauteuil roulant, elle appréhende son retour à l'école. Alexis, son frère, doit aussi s'adapter aux changements qu'a provoqués cet accident dans la vie familiale et dans ses relations avec sa sœur. Cette histoire raconte, à travers les yeux d'Alexis, comment Marika affronte sa nouvelle vie d'enfant. 
FAM HV 888 .B6614 2007

Being the other one: growing up with a brother or sister who has special needs / Strohm, Kate -- Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2005.
This book reveals the difficulties faced by siblings at all stages of life, from early childhood through adulthood, when siblings must often assume responsibility for the care of their disabled brothers and sisters. Though the book looks honestly at the many challenges that siblings face, it is full of encouragement and practical strategies.
FAM HV 888 .S77 2005

Day by day: children tell their journeys of faith and determination living with a sick brother or sister / Frisbee, Christine. -- New York: Frisbee Foundation Publishing, 2008.
This book gives siblings who have a sick brother or sister a voice, allowing them to tell their own stories.  The purpose of this book is to bring understanding and hope to families with a seriously ill child, as well as to educate others about how to take a difficult situation and use it to make you stronger and wiser. 
FAM BF 723 .S431 2008

Deedah [DVD] / May, Brooke. -- [Savannah, GA]: Deedah Productions, 2009.
Deedah is the honest, heart-warming and often humorous account of a seven-year old girl's relationship with her six-year old brother, who has Down syndrome - or as he calls it 'up' syndrome.
FAM RJ 506 .D68 M39 2009

Et moi alors? : grandir avec un frère ou une sœur aux besoins particuliers / Blais, Édith. -- Montréal: Éditions de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine, 2002.
Ce livre met en vedette des jeunes qui partagent leur vie avec un frère ou une sœur aux besoins particuliers. Aussi présente aux jeunes et aux parents des exercices et des stratégies de communication. 
FAM HV 888 .B52 2002

Grandir avec toi: une fratrie singulière -- Montréal: Fédération québécoise de l'autisme et des autres troubles envahissants du développement, 2005. 
Partager son enfance avec un frère ou une sœur souffrant d’un trouble envahissant du développement (TED) présente d’indéniables difficultés. La gêne, la jalousie et la colère s’entremêlent souvent à l’amour et à la culpabilité. L’attention des parents, nécessairement mal répartie entre les enfants de la famille, fait parfois défaut à ceux d’entre eux qui, au fond, savent bien qu’ils en ont moins besoin. Par la force des choses, ces derniers font souvent preuve d’une grande maturité.
FAM RJ 506 .A9 G62 2005

Hi, my name is Jack: a book for the healthy siblings of chronically ill children / Beall-Sullivan, Christina. -- Park City, UT: Bopar Books, 2005. 
Eight-year-old Jack tells what it is like to have a sister who is chronically ill. Appropriate for Ages: 4-8 years
FAM RJ 380 .B42 2005

Oh brother!: growing up with a special needs sibling / Hale, Natalie -- Washington, DC: Magination Press, 2004.
An eleven-year-old girl finds ways to handle the unique chanllenges presented by her thirteen-year-old mentally disabled brother by looking for his good qualities and taking the rest in stride.
FAM HV 888 .H25 2004

The sibling slam book: what it's really like to have a bother or sister with special needs -- Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2004.
Over 80 teenagers share their thoughts on living with a sibling who has special needs.  Appropriate for Ages: 10-17 years
FAM HV 888 .S58 2005

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Web Sites

Disabilities – MedlinePlus from the U.S National Library of Medicine

Financial Tips for Parents of Children with Disabilities – CHEO / Conseils financiers pour les parents d’enfants ayant des besoins spéciaux - CHEO

Just for you – People with Disabilities – Health Canada / Spécialement pour vous - Personnes ayant des incapacités - Santé Canada – Supports for Parents of Children with Special Needs

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● Jooay Jooay
● English and French / anglais et français
● Free / gratuit
● Last updated April 2015 avril dernière mise à jour
● iTunes: Jooay is an app that helps children with disabilities and their families to locate leisure opportunities that are: accessible, suit their needs and abilities, match their preferences, and can help them develop and participate in society./ « Jooay » est un app qui aide les jeunes ayant une déficience, ainsi que leurs familles, à localiser des activités ou programmes qui sont accessibles; qui répondent à leurs besoins et capacités, correspondent à leurs préférences,; et qui les aident à développer et participer dans la société.
● Available from / disponible depuis Google Play & iTunes

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Local Contacts

Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OCAPDD) / L’Association d’Ottawa-Carleton pour personnes ayant une déficience intellectuelle
229 Colonnade Rd
Ottawa, ON K2E 7K3

Coordination des services pour les personnes ayant une déficiene intellectuelle / Service Coordination for People with Developmental Disabilities
200-150 Montreal Rd
Ottawa, ON K1L 8H2
613 748-1788

This guide provides medical material for information purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician. The information may not always apply to your individual situation.

The guide represents material available in the Family Resource Library collection at CHEO. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Your local public library may also be able to provide valuable information.

If you require materials in alternative formats, please contact the library at 613-737-7600 ext. 2157 or at


Last Updated: May 2018
Links Tested: May 2018

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