Monday, December 5, 2011

Different Dream Parenting: Giveaway!

Let me start by saying, that if you have a child with special needs, this is the book for you! Really! Jolene Philo has given all of us---parents of kids with special needs---an incredible gift through her book. Packed with resources, stories, encouragement, and prayers, this is a book that will bring you hope as you journey in the world of special needs, along with guides to IEP's, services, insurance issues, and everything else that parents of kids with special needs ever have to face!

When I got Jolene's book in the mail, I got a treasure! And I want to share that treasure with you! It is Christmas, so I want you to have the opportunity to have this book as a Christmas present from me! All you have to do is leave me a comment here, and tell me what is the best book on special needs that you have read! I will announce the winner on Saturday!

Besides, our family got to be a part of this book! You will get to hear about Nina and Nichole in these pages. I have had the pleasure of meeting Jolene in person and she is a lovely woman of God.

With that, I leave you with Jolene's words to you:

When our beautiful newborn boy was transferred to a regional hospital, my husband and I felt lost at sea. A few hours later, we learned that our baby required immediate surgery at a university hospital 750 miles away. Without it, he would die. That news threw us overboard. We longed for someone who could come alongside and pull us out of the water. A book to chart a map through unfamiliar waters and assure us of God’s presence.

But our son was born in 1982 when pediatric medicine was a relatively new field. Families like ours were hard to find. Parenting books hadn’t been written. The internet didn’t exist. Over the next twenty years, even after the surgeries and medical procedures that corrected our son’s condition were over, my search for parenting resources yielded scant results. Eventually, I sensed God nudging me to come alongside young parents lost at sea like we had been, to create a map they could follow.

Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs is that map. It’s a map for parents of kids living with medical special needs as well as conditions like Down Syndrome, juvenile diabetes, developmental delays, and autism, and those facing a terminal diagnosis. It guides parents by providing tools and resources they need to become effective advocates for their kids.

The book features interviews, advice, and resources from more than fifty families and two dozen professionals. With their help, the book addresses the situations parents face every day. Things I wish someone had told me, like:

      Asking questions after diagnosis.
      Dealing with insurance companies.
      Preparing a child for a hospital stay.
      Accessing financial resources and government monies.
      Accessing special education services.
      Determining optimum level of care.
      Mobilizing volunteers at home.
      Supporting the sibs.
      Preparing a child for death.
      Planning a funeral.
      Participating in community and church events.
      Creating a special needs trust for adult children with special needs.

In addition to practical advice, Different Dream Parenting tackles spiritual questions families are often afraid to ask. Questions about:

      God’s sovereignty
      Parental guilt
      Setting and maintaining spiritual priorities
      Grieving for children living with special needs
      Grieving the death of a child
      Passing faith on to children with special needs

Thirty day prayer guides in the appendices are for parents too exhausted to form their own prayers.

I remember what it’s like to be lost at sea, thrown overboard by an unexpected diagnosis, and drowning under a flood of caregiving demands. My goal is to put Different Dream Parenting into the hands of floundering parents so they have a map and know they’re not alone. To order the book, visit and click on the “buy the book” tab.

Thanks, Ellen, for this opportunity to guest blog at the Stumbo Family Story website and tell people about Different Dream Parenting

The contest is now closed, but I would still love to hear about your favorite books on special needs!


  1. I'm definitely leaving a comment! The book I like about special needs is that OK? It's called Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper. It is about an 11 year old girl who has severe CP and can not communicate. She is brilliant and no one knows it. She's in a special ed classroom where they are learning the alphabet and she belongs in advanced classes. Eventually they figure out how smart she is but she still has to overcome discrimination and doubt to prove herself. It is a chapter book written for kids grades 4-6 but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  2. I'm not sure if this is available to Canadians or not...but thought I'd comment anyway. My favourite book is a book called "This Lovely Life" by Vicki Foreman. It's definitely not an easy read, but worth it. Vicki gave birth to twins WAY too early and this is her account of that experience. Have the kleenex box ready.

  3. I'm a "newbie" to the SN's journey. We are going to China in Jan/Feb. to adopt our 8 year old daughter with moderate CP and I'm trying to learn all I can!
    Right now I'm reading (and learing A TON) Cerebral Palsy: A Complete Guide for Caregiving (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
    Would LOVE to have this book in my library!
    Blessigs and thanks,
    Lynnea Hameloth

  4. I am reading Gifts 2. I am really liking the look into life beyond the toddler years; and reading about so many different experiences and people different looks into their lives. Some of the stories are familiar to what we've experienced, other give me hope for the future, and some just make you smile.

  5. Loving Rachel book by Jane Bernstein
    A Family's Journey from Grief
    A candid and compelling chronicle of one family's bumpy road toward accepting their disabled daughter.
    I have not read this but Jane was a guest speaker on a weekly support group conference call I participate in for kids with Cortical Vision Impairment, CVI and many of the kids also have CP. She was amazingly candid. Her daughter, Rachel is now 23, I think and she has published a second book called Rachel in the World about finding her a place to live and work.

  6. I really liked Adopting the Hurt Child. Mariah's most significant SN isn't really CP. Its her past. I can do the physical part, but its the emotional and mental part I struggle with. This book reminded me of that.

  7. Holding On to Hope is the best book I have ever read about an ill child, child loss, coping, etc. I actually just ordered the two books by Jolene, so if you end up picking me, I will pass it along to someone else that could use the hope of this book as well!

  8. One of my go to books for emotional support was Changed By A Child by Barbara Gill. My other favorite books were published by Glen Doman on how to help your child with special needs reach their full potential.

  9. Anonymous3:51 PM

    My favorite is Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck, and Regina M. Kupecky. Very insightful as far as helping a post-institutionalized child, and some great practical advice on activities that deliberately show love to children, that all can understand. The special need there would be early deprivation or abuse, but the ideas were invaluable or special needs and regular kids too!

  10. I am very new to parenting a special needs child (5 months old) so I have not read much on special needs yet. This book sounds amazing and just what I need! :) The book I am reading now and LOVING is "Same Lake, Different Boat - Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability" by Stephanie O. Hubach.

  11. I enjoyed reading The Elephant In the Playroom. It is full of lighthearted stories that are easily relatable.

  12. Another mom of special needs child and a writer , Judy winter. She has a book all about special needs parenting I plan to get. Her blog is inspiring.

  13. Hi Ellen, I just joined c.p. connection ( i hope i did it right lol) The most recent book I red was a couple months ago. It was a book about a mom and her son with c.p. "Blue sky July" I loved the book, and Nia Wyn's writing style, and could relate on so many levels. Her is what it said on amazon "This gripping autobiography follows the story of a mother who battles impossible odds in the hopes of healing her son Joe Alexander who, six months after he was born, was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. Told that he would never see, walk, or know who they were, his mother’s exquisite, lyrically written memoir charts the first seven years of her life with Joe. Her intimate day-by-day musings explore her thoughts and feelings, while revealing the development of a most extraordinary relationship between mother and son. I need a new book to read and love to educate myself, so i hope I win! :)


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