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Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Different Dream Parenting" (Jolene Philo)

TITLE: Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs
AUTHOR: Jolene Philo
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 2011, (336 pages).

This book is an excellent resource for parents of children with special needs. It is specially arranged to aid the readers from birth to death. Section 1 deals with the shock and trauma when a child has been diagnosed with some physical ailments. Called 'Diagnosis,' it gently encourages parents to move from a state of being 'ambushed' by the news to becoming 'advocates' for their child. Section 2 covers the various aspects of life when the child has to spend time in the hospital. Called 'Hospital Life,' it attempts to guide parents to move from 'confused' state of lostness, to a more 'confident' stance of knowing what to do in the midst of the emotional anguish. Section 3 is entitled 'Juggling Two Worlds' which is a brilliant section of the book that attempts to bring some state of calm to families wherever they are. The author sensitively and meticulously works through the different aspects of life that needs to be calmed. For instance, activities and programs are suggested on how to bring calm to the family, to extended family, at work, and at other places. Section 4 moves on to 'Long Term Care Conditions' which tries to move readers from trepidation about the future to a victorious spirit of triumph. Section 5 is a difficult section that deals with the loss of a child. I find this section particularly touching and hard to go through. Thankfully, the book is sensitive to provide time to reflect, and at the same time, offer readers the freedom to move forward boldly. It uses extensively Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of grieving model. Section 6 is called 'Raising a Survivor' which gives hope to people to be fearless at life.

Throughout the book, the chapters follow a strategic pattern. Typically, it begins with a Bible passage and a short quip from someone who has gone through the particular stage. Several stories are printed to give readers an idea of some real life examples of parents of special needs children. It points out possible traps that prevent parents from moving toward a healthy direction. It provide medical tips, help resources, web references, community links, professional advice as well as spiritual comfort. There are many moments in which the reader is invited to ponder a particular question about the meaning of it all, and calms the reader down with biblical promises. Adding to the already excellent resources are some prayer helps to guide readers through the different stages of difficulty.There are prayer guides for dependence, during hospital stays, praying for families, for educators, therapists, grieving families, children, and their character.

This book is so comprehensive that it is a must-have in the bookshelves of health professionals, counsellors, chaplains, ministry workers, and many help personnel.  One can wait until a problem arrives before reading this book. Even for those of us who have not encountered a parenting challenge that requires 'different dream parenting,' there are at least two powerful reasons to read this book. Firstly, it enables us to appreciate your children even more. Secondly, we learn to be more sensitive to parents with special needs children. If you are a Christian, I add in a third reason.God can use you to help others, and share hope.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Discovery House Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. The comments offered are freely mine.


  1. Dear Conrade,

    Thank you for writing such a positive review of "Different Dream Parenting" and for posting it to Amazon also. Every mention is a way to reach a family in need of encouragement, so your review is appreciated!


  2. Hi Jolene,
    Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you taking time to share of your wisdom, knowledge, and experience for the rest of us. Have a great year ahead!