Of Elephants and Playrooms.

I recently read a rather interesting book about special needs children.  It’s called The Elephant in the Playroom: Ordinary Parents Write Intimately and Honestly About the Extraordinary Highs and Heartbreaking Lows of Raising Kids with Special Needs by Denise Brodey.  It is very different from other books in that it is written, as the title suggests, by everyday parents who deal with the daily challenges of raising special needs children.  These are people who have written honestly about how their child’s diagnosis changed their lives, for better or for worse, and how they had to deal with it.

It’s not easy raising children; any parent can tell you that.  Each child presents their own unique challenges and joys. But, what do you do when your child is outside the recognized norm?  How do you cope both before and after you have answers?  Even when logically you know that there are other people on the planet facing the same or similar challenges it can still feel like you are the only one in the world dealing with this.

The collection of essays in this book are organized into sections by topic (i.e. – To Medicate or Not to Medicate, Thinking Different, Taking Care of You, Going Public) so you can pick and choose which to read or just start at the beginning and read cover to cover.  I chose to read all the essays and came out the other side feeling like I had been sitting in a room full of people who knew how I was feeling and sympathized with what I was going through.

This book is a good read for anyone raising a child with special needs and even those who aren’t.  I think it gives a good insight into how we, as parents, feel when we see our child fall apart, or have to explain to a friend/family member for the bazillionth time why little Joey or Jessica is acting a certain way, or even when strangers stare and make comments, welcome or not.  The best part is that it helps to reassure that we are not alone and for every challenge we may face with our children there will be a triumph somewhere to balance the scales.


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