Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite
Uncommon Voyage: Parenting Children with Special Needs by Laura Shapiro Kramer is a guidebook for parents, focusing on the questions many of us, with children needing that extra help, have asked. It focuses on universal questions, those niggling concerns and thoughts often voiced only to parents in similar situations. Unfortunately, such people are not always available, or people don't feel comfortable talking to others, and that is where this book comes in. I found myself appreciating the highlighted Navigation Points and Laura's Insights found throughout the book, all focused on helping me as a parent identify what I need, while drawing on her experience. I also found the suggested reading very useful; as a parent I feel my own knowledge helps me better prepare for the challenges my son and myself will face. This book in itself is a useful tool, a must-have reference to help navigate the ever changing tides of raising a child with special needs.
Perhaps the most admirable trait is the fact that the author skirts around specific conditions and labels to create a guide accessible and relevant to all. It makes numerous suggestions which will help a parent to manage themselves and their child's condition better; often small, simple things that will make a world of difference. It is also encouraging to the parent, and goes a long way to making the reader understand that, whilst their entire world may revolve around their child, they also need some time for themselves. After all, a child's world revolves around the parent, and a stressed out, frustrated parent will cause a similar response in their child. I myself have often felt guilty about needing just a few moments to myself, especially after a challenging day. Sometimes just seeing that your own needs not only matter, but are important, really makes a difference. I for one will be keeping this book close, referring to it often when I feel lost or in need of that extra bit of support. I know it will prove invaluable - I only wish I'd found it sooner. This is without a doubt the most worthwhile book I have read for years. Thank you to Laura Shapiro Kramer for writing this; you won't believe the difference your words have made.