Special Needs Books

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My favorite book for speech/language delays, also available directly from the Hanen Centre. Lovely illustrations, research-based but actually a simple, practical, easy read. If you want an equally practical, less expensive option, another good (and free! and online!) choice is "Talking with Toddlers". If you want more information or a higher reading level, try Dyer's book below.

Well-researched, practical, and comprehensive, this book covers a broader age range than the one listed above. Features specific sections on adoption and bilingual issues (but don't miss Glennen's website for more detail on language development in post-institutionalized children).

A good book with more emphasis on older, school-age children.

This book fills a big gap in the literature by thoroughly and practically addressing motor and sensory issues in the 1st five years of life, including special sections on low muscle tone and prematurity. It provides excellent descriptions of appropriate play and physical activities for children at various stages of development, especially for kids that do have motor delays or low muscle tone. 

Dr. Greenspan is a well-respected authority in early childhood development, and this hefty book outlines his "Floortime" developmental therapy approach. Ideal for children with autistic spectrum disorders, but also likely to be helpful with "institutional autism" issues, and other early childhood delays.

Wise, practical, and comforting book for parents of kids that are developing on their own path, whether you wind up with a diagnostic label or not. Covers all flavors of the autism spectrum, sensory issues, Tourette's, attentional and anxiety issues, and more. Addresses when and how to seek help, the maze of diagnosis and therapy, and practical tips for school and social situations. But what's unique here is that the authors make a point of celebrating, or at least appreciating, some of these differences rather than pathologizing them.

A poetic, original take on ADD/ADHD and its possible roots in early childhood experience. Mate does acknowledge the role of genetics, and I didn't find the book as "blaming" as it might sound, since he quite poignantly describes his own ADD and how relationship stresses might have contributed to his childrens' ADD. Marvelous descriptions of life with ADD, sound neurobiology explanations for its symptoms, and therapeutic approaches that go well beyond stimulants. Even if his theories on early experience may not apply to every child with ADD, they really ring true for the orphanage-raised or otherwise neglected children in my practice. 6 free chapter samples at ScatteredMinds.com - don't miss the "just looking for attention" and "counterwill" chapters.

This book comes well-recommended by my neuropsychology colleagues, and looks like a nice overview of executive function (the higher order "brain CEO" skills that help us plan and organize our approach to problems, as well as stay in control of our responses and emotions). Even better, it outlines practical and research-based approaches to helping children with "executive dysfunction" at home and at school. It's on this list because MANY children with prenatal substance exposures, early neglect/institutionalization, and ADHD have problems with executive function.

By the same authors, this practical book is for parents of children with executive function difficulties. I really found this book helpful, in a do-it-yourself way to learn about executive skills strengths and weaknesses, goodness of fit with my kids, and what to do about it.

An excellent guide to raising children and adolescents with FASD, using a neurobehavioral approach that helps reframe what is "can't" versus "won't" ...