Book Review: The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome

You know, I read a lot. I really should do more book reviews. I don’t know why I don’t. But anyway, I’m doing one today. And it includes a possibility of winning a prize, so that’s cool, right?!

On my reading list this week was The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome, which you can buy at Amazon if you click here. You can buy it at several other locations, too, including your local Barnes & Noble, but the Amazon link is quick and easy, so there you have it. Or you could click here and buy it from the author’s website.

When I first had Sam, I read everything about Down syndrome that I could get my hands on. Because I’m a reader and a researcher—I find comfort in learning everything I can about something that frightens or confuses me. And let’s be honest—I was pretty darn confused by that whole “extra chromosome” business.

And there were books I liked and books I didn’t like as much—some books I skimmed and others I pored over. At the time, the sort of go-to book for parents of children with Down syndrome was Babies with Down Syndrome. And it’s not a bad book, although the chapter on medical issues is downright terrifying. (Even our awful geneticist told me not to read that. That was one thing I should’ve listened to him on.) But it was written a while back (2008, to be specific), so it’s not as up to date as I might have liked.

But now here we have a new reference! It’s up-to-date, and it includes so many useful links for where to go if you want more information.

Truthfully, I might not have picked up the book if it weren’t for the fact that I know one of the authors. (Actually, I’ve met both of them—but I know one better than the other.) Because Sam is now almost four years old, so although I do research and keep up on the latest developments in the world of intellectual disability, I’m kind of past the “new parent” stage. Not that I’m any wise old sage, mind you—but I no longer need to know what medical issues to look for during those first couple of years, and I’ve already handled our first IEP and all that good stuff.

But actually, I would’ve missed something good if I hadn’t picked up this book! Because The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome actually takes you beyond those early years and talks about parenting an older child and also an adult with Down syndrome. Which is really pretty awesome, because there are so many mommy blogs and such about young children with Down syndrome, but there’s not nearly as much out there about older children and adults with Down syndrome. I was pretty excited to see issues related to these age groups covered in the book. That alone will ensure that it remains on my bookshelf for years to come.

There’s a lot I like about this book, but let me boil it down to the three things I like best:

  • It presents a ton of information in manageable chunks. You aren’t overloaded on any given topic—you’re simply given the basics and then directed to where you can learn more about any particular topic that interests you. That is appealing because no two people with Down syndrome are the same, so not every parent is going to need to read about, say, heart concerns or digestive concerns or behavior issues. The experience is unique for all, so this book lets you read a little bit about everything and then pursue whatever is most relevant for you.
  • There is a ton of information from other parents, in the form of short vignettes and quotes. That really helps make the book well-rounded, in my opinion. It’s wonderful to read the authors’ research and hear their take on everything, but it adds an extra layer of usefulness to hear from countless other parents in the trenches. (If you look hard, you’ll even see a bit from me in Chapter 3!)
  • And what I like very best about this book is the tone. It’s upbeat. It’s happy. It’s not scary. Sure, it covers the scary topics—they don’t mince words about heart surgery, digestive disorders, and extended stays in the NICU. But it covers these things in a tone that lets parents know that it’s going to be okay. There’s help out there, there’s support. And the overall tone lets new parents know what they’re eventually going to learn on their own, too—that life isn’t going to change as drastically as they might think. That life is actually going to look very much like it always did. And when I was a new parent of a child with Down syndrome, I certainly would’ve found a lot of comfort in that.

So, this is a book worth reading—whether you’re a new parent of a child with Down syndrome or a seasoned parent of an older child with Down syndrome. I think it would probably appeal to close family members as well—grandparents who are actively involved, etc.

And now to the free stuff! Let’s hope I can do this correctly. I don’t usually embed HTML in my page, and apparently that’s what I’m supposed to do. Cross your fingers!

What you can win: A grand prize from 321 eConference (click here to learn more) including an “I love someone with Down syndrome” tote, fun stickers, a registration to this year’s 321 eConference, other book resources, and a copy of The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome. The prize is valued at more than $200. It’s a RaffleCopter giveaway; click on the graphic below to enter. (Oooh, I think I did it! Be very impressed, please!)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This is an honest review of my thoughts on the book. I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review, and in fact I did not receive a free review copy of the book—I purchased it for the purposes of reading it. 

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