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Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children [Paperback]

Gina Gallagher , Patricia Konjoian
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 3 2010
We are not in any way experts on parenting children with disabilities. Our goal is simply to share strategies that have worked for each of us in the event it may help those in a similar situation. If you’re different from us (i.e., you are bright or of the perfect persuasion), we advise you not to try the following at home.
On a “perfection-preoccupied planet,” sisters Gina and Patty dare to speak up about the frustrations, sadness, and stigmas they face as parents of children with disabilities (one with Asperger’s syndrome, the other with bipolar disorder).
This refreshingly frank book, which will alternately make you want to tear your hair out and laugh your head off, should be required reading for parents of disabled children. Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid provides wise and funny advice about how to:

   • Find a support group—either online or in your community
   • Ensure that your child gets the right in-school support
   • Deal with people—be they friends, family members, or strangers—who say or do insensitive things to you or your child
   • Find fun, safe, and inclusive extracurricular activities for your child
   • Battle your own grief and seek professional help if you need it
   • Keep the rest of the family intact in moments of crisis

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Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children + The Elephant in the Playroom: Ordinary Parents Write Intimately and Honestly About Raising Kids with Special Needs
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"One of the best parts of the book is that these two moms sound like...well, two moms. And two very funny moms at that. So you’re going to laugh (a lot), and cry (a little), and you're going to hope for the best, and you’re going to pray that someone can help their kids, and best of all you’re going to know that you’re not alone. So if you were hoping for a dry, predictable reading experience, I’m quite certain you’ve selected the wrong book. Kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges aren’t dry and predictable, so hang on to your hat and bring along some tissues."
—Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., author of The Explosive Child and Lost at School

“Know, work with, or love a child with special needs? If so, Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian’s Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid is the latest ‘must-read’ book on the subject. The sisters, whose wit and delivery could have landed them a gig on the stand-up circuit, share facts and funny stories about raising kids with disabilities while providing practical advice and identifying helpful resources. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn a lot about living well with challenge. Buy a copy for yourself . . . and two or three more for your friends with perfect kids!”
—KATE McLAUGHLIN, author of Mommy I’m Still in Here: One Family’s Journey with Bipolar Disease
“With truly masterful use of humor as a coping strategy, Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid authors Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian address the challenges, the heartbreak, and the touching victories of parenting children with disabilities today. The book is a valuable and insightful resource for any family member or friend of a child with special needs. It conveys a wealth of practical information with a warmth and compassion that helps parents realize they are not alone.”
—DEIRDRE E. LOGAN, PhD, psychologist, Children’s Hospital Boston, and assistant professor of psychology, Harvard Medical School
“Anyone who has ever laughed while raising a child will love this book! Gina and Patricia really find the humor in special needs parenting—and they validate us all.” —SUSAN SENATOR, author of Making Peace with Autism and The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide
 “Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid is the perfect antidote to a society obsessed with perfection. It was written by two sisters who both have children with unique challenges. Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian have created an honest, humorous, and touching book that will make you laugh and cry, but most of all it will make you reevaluate how you look at other people in this world. Their journey is similar to that of many parents who have been filled with conflicting feelings about their children. But at the end of the day, instead of seeing their children’s differences, they see their determination and spirit. It’s that determination and spirit that has changed their lives in every way. It’s also what they would like the rest of the world to embrace. This book is a breath of fresh air to parents of kids with all sorts of abilities.”
—TRACY ANGLADA, executive director of BPChildren and author of Intense Minds: Through the Eyes of Young People with Bipolar Disorder
 “This survival guide is a must-read for families of children with emerging and existing mental health conditions. Not only does this book provide highly practical advice, but it infuses that advice with real-life stories of families who have faced unthinkable challenges and come out on top. It offers hope to every family who has faced the dark side of stigma and the struggle of securing effective services and supports for their child. Families who read this book will truly understand that they are not alone. The road can be long and hard, but this book reminds us that on our journey, humor provides a powerful role in the struggle. Ordinary families will find themselves reading and rereading this guide as they come to appreciate the beauty of their unique and special child.”
—DARCY GRUTTADARO, director of the NAMI National Child and Adolescent Action Center
“Thank you, Gina and Patty, for reminding the world that our most cherished human qualities, courage and resilience among them, can never be captured by a test score or grade on a report card. Your book, your message, and your ‘Movement of Imperfection’ could not have arrived at a better time. Thanks to you, countless numbers of people, children and adults alike, will come to see their differences in a hopeful new light.”
—MARK KATZ, PhD, clinical and consulting psychologist, San Diego, California, and author of On Playing a Poor Hand Well

About the Author

GINA GALLAGHER is a highly imperfect mother and an award-winning copywriter. She lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts, with her husband, two daughters, and countless carpenter ants.
PATRICIA KONJOIAN is a freelance videographer who lives in Andover, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children. She has been on a diet since 1978.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brag Buster Feb. 5 2010
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Just check out the rave reviews this book got on the Amazon USA boards!

For anybody wants children or whose child or children have special needs, make this book your best friend. Not only do the authors relate truly funny incidents regarding children with special needs, they pave a boulevard of tolerance in the special needs and mainstream worlds. They also build a Bridge of Hope and connect these worlds into one. The sisters who wrote this are brilliant, clever and VERY funny. Each time I wanted to shout, "Preach on, Sisters!" I LOVE this book! The title says just what many people would love to say but don't for decorum's sake. (Dear Abby's column dated 6/20/06 and 7/21/06 addresses this very issue of people who talk about their children to the exclusion of others, usually in the workplace. This book helps inure listeners when this type of thing is taking place).

People who go on about their kids often will draw blood where they think it will hurt the most if anybody dares object to hearing any more about their ideal offspring. One is not "anti-parent" simply because they don't feel like hearing others drone on about their children. They resort to putdowns and take on a sense of social entitlement towards those who want children and find it difficult to listen to others' accounts. People who take on this posture also tend to lash out at anybody doesn't dare worship at the altar of their families and stroke their egos by telling them how wonderful and perfect their kids are and what a great job they are doing raising them. If anyone dares object, they risk censure and ostracism. It does make you wonder if people who dominate the conversations in this manner realize how it can be quite hurtful to others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By KathyO
It's not a how-to book. It's certainly not a clinical book about either Asperger's or bipolar disorder. It's not a whinefest about how tough life is, or an uplifting soft-focus schmaltz-o-rama. And it's nowhere near as hostile as the title would have you believe.

It's about special-needs parenting; it's about finding out that you're on a trip you did not plan on taking, it's about living a life whose "everyday normal" doesn't look like ANYONE else's. It's about the looks you get from other parents, the advice you get from well-meaning (and not) strangers, and the slalom course you will find yourself steering, with increasing confidence, between school, the medical system, the needs of the rest of your family, and everything else.

And it's about the hugely, burningly important truth that you can't let these things snuff out your sense of humour and your joy in your family, even when the laughter is strained and slightly hysterical, and even if the biggest way you are showing your love is by closing yourself in a closet for fifteen minutes instead of committing infanticide.

If you find yourself in this special-needs club, if you want to plow the next person who brags to you about all the things their child does amazingly well, while you're still hoping for the things that everyone else takes for granted... this book is for you. Read. Enjoy. Laugh. Have a glass of wine if you've got one handy. I'm sure you deserve it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  116 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! The truth comes out! Aug. 10 2010
By Sethany Griffin - Published on
As the mother of two boys ages 9 and 11, one with autism and bipolar disorder and one with signifigant anxiety, this book was a refreshing positive change from all of the typical gloom and doom books out there on this subject matter. The "Shut up Sisters" have shined a bright light on the truth, that children with special needs are a huge challenge, but a huge blessing as well. Each of the sisters gives her own personal perspective on the happiness, joy, heartbreak and pain that comes with this difficult job of parenting special needs children that none of us are prepared to take on, and sends a very clear message, "You are not alone." Sometimes, just knowing that is what gets us through the day.

This book made me laugh and it made me cry, but most of all it made me realize how truly lucky I am to be blessed with the family and the support system I have. Bravo to the sisters for embracing their imperfection!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rave review March 27 2007
By Mad bin Tod - Published on
Shut Up About...Your Perfect Kid is exactly what parents of special children need to read. In addition to sharing extremely funny stories about special children, the authors break down barriers within the special needs community as well as throughout mainstream culture. Using humor, wisdom and revealing their own personal journeys, the authors create a "we're all in this together" reading environment. The book validates the fears, limitations and challenges of parenting special children; at the same time, the book encourages parents to examine our expectations and perspectives about our special children and appreciate the gifts they bring to our lives. Expect to sigh, cry and laugh out loud.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for parents of a challenged child May 24 2007
By Deirdre Carey - Published on
This is no "make lemons into lemonade" book! These two sisters open their hearts and their homes to the world to share an exceptionally honest and insightful approach to raising children with challenges. You'll laugh, and you'll cry. This is also a great read for parents who DON'T have children with special needs - so they can have a better understanding of what it is like...and then maybe they'll "shut up about their perfect child!" Way to go sisters! I've never read a book that was so heartfelt, and raw, and truthful! And I commend both the writers for having the strength to keep their families intact regardless of the many hurdles they've needed to overcome, and what is most impressive is their ability to find the dark humor during very difficult circumstances. Buy your copy TODAY!!!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST read for parents of children with special needs Aug. 3 2010
By Deborah A Stephens - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is excellent! It is a heart-warming and humorous journey of two sisters each raising a daughter(s) with a disability. If you feel as if you are the only one struggling to raise your special needs child, grab a tissue and sit down to read.
The book goes through their different reactions to their daughter's diagnoses and follows along through the good and the bad. Walk with Gina and Patty as they go thorugh IEPs, team meetings, appointments with psychologists and psychiatrists. Cry and laugh as they describe their daughters going to school, inclusion classroom, private school and life in general.
While their daughters have Asperger's, Bipolar disorder and NVLD you will enjoy reading no matter what your child's disability may be.
Join them and their many fans on Facebook as well "Shut-Up About Your Perfect Kid". Learn that while others brag about the honor roll or star athlete, your child has qualities worth bragging about as well.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover April 9 2007
By reading is fun - Published on
Finally! A book that understands exactly how I feel on the days when I think there is no hope in sight and that I can laugh at some of the bumps in the road.
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