Friday 30 March 2018

E-book Review - Special Ed Mom Survival Guide

*** Please note that I did receive a free copy of this e-book to review however I do not receive commissions of any other kind for the review of this e-book. This is simply a book that I have found useful. ***

Very recently a good friend of mine, Bonnie Landau, was telling me about a book that she wrote titled "Special Ed Mom Survival Guide: How to prevail in the special education process and find life long strategies for you and your child." When she was describing the book it sounded like not only a great read but also a fantastic resource and as such I offered to do a review on it.

Bonnie is a Mum of children who have special education needs. She has spent the last eleven years being an advocate for her children in the special needs education system and through her experience she has assisted her children to thrive in the school environment. Bonnie wrote this book to pass on her knowledge and experience to other families.

Keeping in mind that this book has been written with the US education system in mind, the majority of the book can be utilised by parents all over the world. Sure the references to the US education and legal system are not relevant to my part of the world but the sections titled "Ignore the Naysayers," " Take care of yourself," "Manage your stress," "Find the blessings in your journey," "Take care of your child," "Knowledge is your strength" as well as numerous others are more than relevant to families living outside of the US.

As Bonnie states in her introduction ...

"This book is everything I learned while proving that we were right!"

The book is broken up into five sections and the majority of the book is aimed at providing parents with information to be able to create the right frame of mind in themselves to be able to manage the special education process.

If you have had any experience in the special education process, you will know that it can be emotionally and mentally draining on all involved - the child and the family. And as the saying goes, we need to look after ourselves before we can look after others.

We as parents need to look after ourselves so that we can be the advocates that our children need us to be. Quite often children do not find their own voice of advocacy until much older and as such they need their parents to be their advocate at school in the meantime.

With phrases such as "Believe in yourself - you do have the ability to help your child" and "You are the consistent thread from that early preschool experience on up through high school and beyond" the book has motivational content for all parents and caregivers of children with special needs.

One of the things that I realised after reading both O and L's diagnostic assessment reports is that their individual reports were simply a reflection of their baselines at that point in time. The reports did not indicate O and L's full capabilities and this sentiment is reflected in Bonnie's book. Bonnie provides advice on how parents and caregivers can foster their children's strengths, how to teach their child to be a self advocate while at school, how to teach children to be resilient and how to help our children to understand their disability. Most importantly she reminds parents not to focus on what our children can't do but focus instead on what they are capable of.

The final chapters of the book give strategies that parents and caregivers can implement when speaking with teachers and schools in regards to the IEP process. These include strategies to use when attending IEP meetings, how to work effectively with teachers, information on how to document everything during and after the IEP process and how to go about educating your children's teachers about your child's disability. Bonnie also includes information on questions that should be asked of potential special education advocates so that you as a parent can ascertain whether or not the potential advocate is the best fit for your children.

The book is an uplifting, feel good read and the content is incredibly useful. it is a wonderful resource to have and one that I have added to our ever growing collection. I will definitely be referring to this in the future for not only my own benefit but also when speaking with O and L's school.

You can purchase a copy of the book, either hard copy or as an e-book, through the following links. For Australian residents, click on this link. For US residents click on this link!

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