on September 6, 2003
My very pro-life girlfriend sent me this book as a gift the week I was due to go in for invasive testing to find out if I would be in these parents' shoes. She meant it well but it was poor and inappropriate timing. Once I had my test results, which said my baby was 'normal', I then read the book and learned a lot. I'll give you the perspective from a parent who has never had extra challenges to raising my children.
This book is geared to those who have just learned of a diagnosis. I would also recommend it to anyone who works in related fields. It doesn't address the long-term issues and doesn't hand out answers. The parents were mostly disarmingly honest in how they felt and how they coped. Some of the parents of children with Down Syndrome were a little rightious but most were refreshingly forthright.
While I feel grateful that I never had to face what these parents have, I didn't pity them. I also felt, and it is always the possiblity that I might still find myself in similar shoes, that the strength is there. I would learn and grow and cope with what we would face and it wouldn't diminish the love I have for my children, including the one en route. I could adjust my dreams.
The book is engaging and reads easily. I want to learn more on the subject. You also learn what to say and not say to other parents. We're all equals. It's a tough job and maybe some of us have a job a little more difficult but we'll all get it in the end, whatever the goals and aspirations are.
on November 23, 2002
It's been 22 years now since my son was a seemingly normal, happy toddler. It's been eighteen years since I first heard the word "autism" used to describe my baby. It was a grief from which I thought I would never recover--never feel good again--unless he recovered and had a typical life. It took me two years before I could get the word "autism" out of my mouth. Like the other 62 writers in You Will Dream New Dreams: Inspiring Personal Stories by Parents of Children With Disabilities, my life was suspended in time. Hope was in short supply. When my life resumed, I had a new and uncertain calendar before me which unfolded with my son's condition.
I can recall the first time I saw a copy of Exceptional Parent magazine in a doctor's office. I was afraid to open it. I was terrified to consider that I might become a regular reader. Months later, I did open that magazine and closed it nervously after glancing at its table of contents, mortified that I could possibly belong to the club of its subscribers. Eventually, I did read it a little at a time and I found guidance and comfort there. What really helped was the first person accounts by other parents who had survived the crisis.
I noticed that these were people who had rejoined time, found hope and even joy again, and discovered who they had become. That magazine has given voice to so many parents over the years. In fact, it helped me years later to develop my own voice as a father, in the Fathers' Voices Column edited by James May of the National Fathers' Network. Eventually, I met the founder and former editor-in-chief of Exceptional Parent, Stanley D. Klein, Ph.D., who together with Kim Schive has brought us a new and I believe a lasting contribution. Stan has been a colleague and a friend who has helped me to develop my work further as he has done with numerous parents and people with disabilities. I am an admittedly biased reviewer, and so be it.
In You Will Dream New Dreams, readers will find real-life stories by mothers and fathers of kids with cerebral palsy, juvenile diabetes, autism, mental retardation, and a host of other life-altering chronic conditions and injuries. Their messages resound with courage, encouragement, and hope. Like the other essay writers, I am proud to have my words included in this volume--proud to be part of something bigger and more important. Pick it up, if you are a parent, and in each essay you are drawn to, you will revisit and discover a part of your story. Stay with this process and you can put together your story and develop it further as life goes on with your family. Find a piece here and a piece there that resonates deep within.
There is a Native American proverb that advises that you cannot understand another person unless you walk a mile in his or her moccasins. So listen to life inside these moccasins, if you are a professional, and you can learn how to listen better to parents. They will tell you their stories, and in doing so will be able to eventually dream new dreams. This is a valuable book for relatives and friends to help hem understand the treacherous emotional landscape for a parent whose child has special needs.
Now 62 other parents have a voice. When you have a voice, you have dignity. When you have a voice, you can make yourself understood. When you have a voice, you can connect with others; you can speak and listen patiently with your spouse. When you have a voice, you can command respect. You know when you have power, and you can accept when you are powerless. And maybe most of all, when you have a voice, you can heal your broken heart.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "The only true gift is a portion of thyself." In You Will Dream New Dreams, Stan Klein and Kim Schive have brought us a gift from 62 mothers and fathers. Take a look, open it up, you won't be sorry.
on December 26, 2001
I'm disabled and was born in the '60s during a time that disabilities were not quite understood. I wanted to read this book to get some insight what my mother has gone through having a disabled child (me). There were about 2 or 3 stories that were excellent and quite moving. These few stories were of courage, success and strength. The other stories (the bulk of the book), to me, were very disappointing. It was redundant and stressed too much on how devastated the parent's were about having a disabled child. My mother was not devastated, although she did go through frustrations, process of trying to understand me, and saddness from professionals. It was not easy for her, but it wasn't devastating either. As a disabled person, it was hurting to read how many people were devasted in having a disabled child. It brought pain to me in how society can't accept us disabled person's as an individual. That we always have to PROVE ourselves constantly, sadly, even to our parents. In this book, it tells me these human beings had to prove themselves because their parent's were so devastated their child wasn't perfect. This hurts and I certainly didn't like many formats of the stories, they were redundant as if following a certain formula of the editors. Maybe the writers did write more of a full story, perhaps the editors focused too much on the greiving of the parents. I would have rather seen triumpts and how to get through it all rather than the "my life was shattered because my baby wasn't perfect, but later the baby proved to me other-wise" format. If the book helps parents, then I am truly happy, as a disabled person's perspective, I just found the book rather upsetting and disappointing, I didn't think it was inspiring at all (except for the 2-3 stories out of 49??).
on October 9, 2001
Eight months ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was
probably the most wanted and planned for baby--ever. My husband and I were so very happy and excited about this new life that we
had created and had so many hopes and dreams for all of our
futures. Then we were given devastating news. Just hours after Zachary's birth, my husband tearfully informed me that there was
something wring with our baby. Greg told me that Zachary had a serious heart defect and then he said the words that I can still hear to this day: "And honey, the doctors think he has Down Syndrome." I thought the world had just opened up and swallowed me. My grief and shock were absolutely agonizing and overwhelming.
I read You Will New Dreams when Zachary was about six months old, and I have found this book comforting and validating. There is such solace in knowing that other parents have been where I am now and that it does get better. I have learned that I am not alone; the wisdom and strength of the parents who have written these essays has helped me immeasurably. I've learned that it's okay to celebrate my sweet, precious child and also grieve for lost hopes and dreams. Thank you, Stanley Klein and Kim Schive!!
on September 10, 2001
I feared that this might be a maudlin book about "special children." Instead, it is a collection of parents' stories -- straight-forward and often uplifting without straying into the maudlin. These parents talk about their shock, their grief, their struggle, their pride, their success. This book helpfully includes a variety of types of disabilities and stories about children ages infant through adult. Several of the parents talk about school inclusion -- an extremely important topic for parents of kids with special needs.
One quibble that I have with this book is the frequent emphasis on parent-to-parent support. I believe that, while this is extremely helpful to some parents, it is not necessarily universally helpful.
If you're a parent of a child with special needs, I believe that this book will speak to you. If you are a teacher -- of any kind, at any level -- PLEASE read this book and gain new insight into the experiences of parents of children with special needs.
on September 2, 2001
YOU WILL DREAM NEW DREAMS.
That is what all of us parents of disabled children need to hear and memorize, and accept.
Based on my own experience, the hardest part of having a "child with a label" is that one tiny little label can demolish dreams you've had for years. These dreams are not just goals, or aims in life, but the future we had counted on and desperately hoped for. Once the label is affixed to your child, though, you desperately hope and pray for any future at all. In order to move forward to that, one has to let go of most of the old dreams and a rebuild. THAT is the toughest part about life with a disabled child.
YOU WILL DREAM NEW DREAMS.
And you will. This book is a compilation of many, many parents with children afflicted by various disabilities. Some will be milder than your child's, and some will be far worse. Some stories will make you laugh, some will tear your heart out and make you wonder why you're reading this book. But in the end, this book helps you to realize that you are in no way alone. Not only is God watching over you and carrying you through the roughest points, YOU WILL DREAM NEW DREAMS shows you that you also have a huge camaraderie of other parents, going through similar fates as yours.
The book is arranged according to the age of the disabled child, from youngest to oldest. In the beginning, the letters are still too raw and full of pain. Again, you wonder why you're reading it. But then, in the middle, which is about where my life stands, you start to feel like, "Yes... this is me, this is what I am going through.... I am not alone." But the last third of the book is devoted to parents who have "been there, done that, and lived to tell about it". The amount of hope it offers is incredible. There is no advice as credible as that of someone who has walked the path before you, and these parents have done just that.
You will meet, in this book, a huge array of parents, all with one thing in common: their child or children who are "not normal," for lack of a better word. Some, you will agree with. Some, you will detest and find repulsive. Some, you will admire. But all will help you in one way or another, no matter what your child has been diagnosed with. Everything from mild afflictions to fatal conditions are covered.
I have read so many books on parenting a disabled child, since autism has entered my life without my permission. Many of the books that are written are about the "exception" to the rule, the one who got better, the one who was misdiagnosed, the one who 'such and such therapy' transformed, healed, cured, or what have you.
I am not a stupid or gullible person. I will not help my children by hoping to be the exception, but rather by assuming they are the norm amongst their peers. I have nothing to gain by reading of miracle cures that worked for a handful of kids. I have nothing to gain by comparing my child to "the exception", as chances are - - my child will not be the exception.
What I need to hear, feel and see is that my life is blessed by having this child in it. I need to see why, I know to know why, and I need to believe why. I need to function today and tomorrow by making it better for my child, and making her into the best that she can be, regardless of circumstances. I need not set myself up for disappointment when I could have just let my child learn, grow, and improve at her own rate, and be surprised countless times along the way, and just as proud as any other mom of an autistic child.
YOU WILL DREAM NEW DREAMS does just that for me. It showed me that there are many kids with tougher labels out there who do so much better. But it showed me just as clearly that I am so lucky and blessed that my child is here, living, and healthy. I am so fortunate that my child loves to be held, or loves to be tickled. In many ways, I am blessed that my child does not realize that she is different from "the other children" right now.
This book has rejuvenated me, and renewed my determination to move forward with my little girl. While I still consider myself to be in the grieving stages, and while I do not expect my heart to stop breaking into a million pieces on a daily basis - - - since reading this book tonight, I feel stronger and more able.
Right now, I feel that my heart has been filled with love again, and "something" is holding the pieces together again.
As most of you either know or will realize - - in the kind of life we live - - -today, right now, tonight, this moment is what is most important. And this book can make that moment, however long or short it may be, a little better, and more bearable.
I highly recommend YOU WILL DREAM NEW DREAMS.
on June 14, 2001
Over the last couple weeks I have been browsing through "You will dream new dreams". As I read, I am struck again & again by the raw emotion contained in this book -- anger, guilt, frustration, denial. But overwhelmingly the feelings you leave with are those of hope & love. This book is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. Each story shows a family that grieved, learned acceptance, & grew stronger. Many of the families talk about the struggle they had accepting that their more negative emotions were simply a "part of the process" & perfectly normal. If this book serves no other purpose it can reassure parents just receiving their diagnosis that: a) It's OK to feel how you feel b) That coping is a journey that gets easier with time c) And that YOU WILL COME OUT on the other side -- a stronger person, a different person & probably a better person for loving someone with special needs.
As a side note, I would strongly encourage professionals who work with parents new to disabilities to get 1 or more copies of this book & loan it to new parents. You can read it in small moments of time & the message could be invaluable to someone in desperate need of hope & comfort!
on April 2, 2001
"You Will Dream New Dreams" is a gift to any family experiencing the shock of learning that their child has a disability. From personal experience I can testify to what a disorienting and difficult time that can be. Professionals, no matter how well meaning or informed they may be, never quite have the right thing to say. Other parents who have been through the same trying time are the one irreplacable resource that can actually make you believe that you will survive and that your 'surpise' child will be a joy and wonder after all. Unfortunately finding another family to talk to can be quite difficult. Reading the essays in this book is a good substitute. The writing is heartfelt and full of experience, wisdom and hope. As a parent of a 'special needs' child I recommend this book highly.
on August 27, 2001
You've probably heard the maxim, "I'm a better teacher than I am a student." As a golden mom (I delivered a baby after 40 years old) with a doctorate in Ed.Administration and a bachelor's degree in Speech Therapy, I thought I knew all the answers, or at least how to find them, about my son's Down Syndrome. Well, by no means did my education prepare me for the kaleidascope of feelings I have had these past eight years with Sammy. I have been starving for a book such as this one. It has real stories by exceptional parents. All the textbooks in the world can't begin to describe what these 236 pages of wisdom so beautifully convey. Bravo and a big hug to all the parents who shared their story!
on August 27, 2003
Many of these reviews are quite long, so I'll try to make this short. As a mother of a 19 month old baby with cerebral palsy it was a great help to me. Sometimes it is hard to pick up because it hits so close to home.
We have discussed this book in my parents group and almost everyone found something they could relate to.
My favorite thing about this book is that it is written for everyone, not just the very religious.
I have borrowed this book from a local orginization twice and am buying it today.
Love your children, but don't forget to love yourself