Raising a Child with Special Needs: Five Books to Learn From

There are countless books to consult when it comes to raising children. But — as parents of The Phoenix Center students know — raising children with unique needs can be a less-written about topic. Nothing prepares you for parenting like on-the-ground, real-life experience, but even so some informative literature can strengthen the mind and embolden the spirit. Below are five books that can help smooth the road and answer hard-to-ask questions.

  1. Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Nothbom

    So often we try to control our children, but how often do we consider life from their vantage? Ellen Nothbom’s groundbreaking book — laced with humor and compassion — explores the inner life of autistic children without generalizing them or boxing them in. As a parent of an autistic child, Nothbom brings a refreshing first-hand approach to her sparkling writing.

  2. The Parents Guide to Down Syndrome by Jennifer Jacob

    Jennifer Jacob brings a lot of experience to this topic: she’s the cofounder and vice president of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network. The book explores the step-by-step process of raising an exceptional child, discussing topics from developing your child’s social skills to opening doors for future opportunities, including employment and housing.

  3. Disabled Parenting Project

    Okay, this one’s not a book. But, it’s a highly informative and conversational blog written by real parents just like you. The blog explores everything from accessibility to honoring LGBTQ pride within the disabled community. With monthly posts, it’s a good resource to find a variety of resources and read up on various parents’ perspectives on raising special needs children.

  4. The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Sonby Ian Brown

    Ian Brown’s book offers a unique perspective — one from a loving father’s point of view. Brown describes in full and compelling detail the nature of his son’s extremely rare condition. An investigative journalist by trade, Brown’s writing is as incisive and clever as it is moving and deeply felt. The Boy in the Moon is a must read for anyone contemplating the extraordinariness of life, children, and love.

  5. Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant

    This paperback comes from one of the leading writers in the field; the Chicago Tribune calls Barry M. Prizant’s book “required reading” and the book was the winner of the Autism Society of America’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for the Outstanding Literary Work in Autism. Uniquely Human is just that: a celebration of what makes autistic children exceptional and the ways in which parents can help their children’s gifts shine.