by L. L. Sandoval
Different Dream Parenting is a very useful compilation of helpful tips that can and should be used by people who have children with special needs. The book is complete with lists for how to be an effective advocate for your child, tips on how to be an effective communicator, questions that can be asked of providers, ways to search out information on the internet, and ways to effectively organize information. All of this and more is only in the first section.
There are many tips and resources in this book and the only way to truly appreciate them all is to read the book. What I really found helpful is the concept of being an advocate. I believe that when a person is a parent of a child with special needs, it’s as if God entrusts the child to him or her. Yes, I know that I am my son’s mother, but more importantly, I cling to the idea that God gave him specifically to me so that I could try my best to be his advocate in a world that can be hard to navigate, even for typical folks.
This book is a very valuable guide from the time of diagnosis, and I wish it had been around through all of my son’s medical trials and tribulations. In our case, it was more of the blind leading the blind, even with respect to the medical professionals that we saw, unfortunately. Not that they weren’t respectable in their fields, but there was just no way to connect the dots with his different medical issues at the time. That said, for anyone dealing with a child with seemingly difficult symptoms that are difficult to address and diagnose, I would definitely recommend this book.
There is one idea that I don’t agree with in the first section, and that is where it talks about not using the Internet to try to diagnose a child’s condition. The reason I disagree is that for many years, my child’s symptoms were like a puzzle, and even medical professionals couldn’t seem to put the pieces together. Of course, I couldn’t really diagnose my own child, but I was able to search key words that the doctors had given me to look up possible diagnoses that were thrown around. There was a lot of guesswork involved for many years in my son’s impending diagnosis, and when he finally did get an official diagnosis, I had already read about the condition and was somewhat mentally prepared for what would lie ahead.
Lastly, what I appreciated most about this book is the reminder that through all the trials and tribulations of dealing with a difficult diagnosis for a child, there should be prayer.