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Building a Joyful Life with your Child who has Special Needs Nancy J. Whiteman and Linda Roan-Yager

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All parents want the best for their child, and for parents of children with special needs, this can mean that their own well-being is neglected. Drawing from their own experiences of parenting children with special needs, interviews and workshops with parents, and research findings, Nancy J. Whiteman and Linda Roan-Yager explore practical ways in which parents can develop a resilient and positive attitude towards caring for their child with special needs.

This book considers the challenges of caring for children with physical, developmental and mental health disorders and proposes methods such as learning to see events through your child's own eyes, celebrating their strengths and achievements and recognising how others can help your child. Chapters deal with key topics such as coping with a diagnosis, discussing support needs with a child's teachers and explaining a child's differences to their peers, and the authors stress the importance of parents building support systems for themselves and their children. Real stories from parents and example scenarios illustrate the common difficulties faced by parents of children with special needs, and the authors explain how painful thoughts may be identified and reframed through techniques grounded in cognitive behaviour therapy. Crucially, Building a Joyful Life warns against parents neglecting their own needs, and a range of exercises to be completed by parents will help them to find ways of regaining balance in their lives.

'Raising a child with special needs is filled with unique challenges and joys. The authors have integrated their own experiences as mothers of children with special needs, their professional work with families, and recent research findings to offer support, practical exercises and real life stories designed to inspire and encourage parents.'

- Human Givens

'While all parents want the best for their children, parents of a child with special needs sometimes discover that their of a child with special needs sometimes discover their intense focus on the child comes at the expense of fully enjoying their own lives. The co-authors of this book both have children with special needs. They formed an organization named Shifting View to provide inspiration and practical strategies for parents through coaching sessions and workshops. Those experiences established the groundwork for Building a Joyful Life. The basic premise of this book is that no matter what the disability or challenge - physical, developmental, learning or mental health - parents can take control of their own lives and find happiness while ensuring the best for their children.'

- Quest

'Drawing on practical experience of parenting children with special needs, this workbook explores ways of developing flexible and positive approaches towards providing care and support. It covers physical, developmental and mental disorders, and crucially advises parents against neglecting their own needs.'

- British Institute of Learning Disabilities

Endorsements:

'Building a Joyful Life with your Child who has Special Needs is a survival manual for parents of children with disabilities. In this well written and comprehensive book, the authors give parents permission to feel, to accept their faults, to value themselves, and ultimately, to come to terms with their lives. The exercises throughout the book provide a personal, individualized approach that will help each parent find their own way and discover their own consolations from this experience. Building a Joyful Life will be helpful to not only parents of children with special needs but also to the professionals who work with children and their families.'

- Ann Palmer, author of Realizing the College Dream with Autism or Asperger Syndrome and Parenting Across the Autism Spectrum

'Parents of special needs children struggle to find a place for support, understanding, and hope. Nancy Whiteman and Linda Roan-Yager have created a useful resource that will help parents, as the authors' state, 'come in contact with their own story.' In so doing, parents of special needs children can begin living life more `relaxed, centered and happy' for themselves and their children.'

- James Morris, Ph.D., Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Texas Tech University, and Former President, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

'This positive and useful workbook will help parents of children with disabilities refuel and nourish their own lives!'

- Elizabeth Goodwin, Co-founder, The National Down Syndrome Society

'Nancy Whiteman and Linda Roan-Yager offer indispensable advice for parents of children with special needs. Drawing on their substantial experience in working with parents, they offer seasoned advice for dealing with one's own disappointments, guilt, and frustration; the stigma of psychiatric illness; improving interactions with children; and building better family and social relationships. Parents will appreciate the mixture of empathy, compassion, and practical application of coping techniques.'

- David J. Miklowitz, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Colorado

Acknowledgements. A Note on the Text. About the Authors. Introduction. 1. Springing Back and Moving Forward: Resilience and Happiness. 2. Putting on Your Oxygen Mask: Intention and Self-care. 3. The Twisted Skein: Embracing our Complex and Conflicting Feelings. 4. Seeing with New Eyes: Reframing our Perceptions and Beliefs. 5. Shrinking the Balloon: Seeing our Child as a Whole Person. 6. Building Your Child's Village: Deepening our Child's Connections to Others. 7. Knocking on the Door: Building our Support Systems. 8. Finding Personal Meaning: Unlocking the Fullness of Life. Additional Resources. References. Index.

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