Down in the Southland

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Favorite Books


Note: many books on special needs are available from Woodbine House Publishing

Factual books

Homeschooling Children With Down Syndrome - by Amy Dunaway

This is a great FREE E-resource even if you aren't homeschooling!  There is a wealth of information about multiple resources which have been tested and used by homeschooling families to educate their child(ren) with Down syndrome with success!  There are sections of resources sorted by subject as well as by type (computer software, DVD's, etc)

Babies with Down Syndrome this is another great book that has a lot of information in it. Many moms said that they would skip chapter three at first, but it’s a good place to start learning about babies with Down syndrome and their needs.

Medical and Surgical Care for Children with Down Syndrome –a great book with a lot of information. Unless your child has immediate health concerns, this might not be the first book to read. It has a wealth of information, and is a great resource to have on the bookshelf to use for reference.

Down Syndrome: the First 18 Months – by Libby Kumin PhD.

A review from one of our moms:

WOW!! I wish this video were available when my daughter was born almost 3 years ago! It should be included in every diaper bag from the hospital when the child has Down syndrome! It is all of the information that I wish I knew when my daughter was first born. It is like Down syndrome 101. You don't walk away with a hopeless feeling about your new baby's lease on life, instead, you understand that your child has an extra chromosome, and that chromosome, as small as it may be, WILL be the largest blessing and life lesson you learn. This video is on my “must see” list for new parents. Although $35 is a bit steep, it is well worth a trip to the library!!!

Teaching Your Infant with Down Syndrome – an older and out of print book that has some outdated information, but if you are a “do-it-yourselfer”, this book has some great forms and ideas for tracking your child’s progress.

Keys to Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome- Marlene Targ-Brill

Down Syndrome: The Facts by Mark Selikowitz

Review from

From previous edition: `This is an excellent book. Its open and sensitive approach is aimed principally at parents. However the breadth and depth of coverage is such that it will be of interest to most professionals working in this field. All the important areas are covered, including some such as marriage and procreation, which are not always considered. The issues are presented in a clear factual manner, emphasizing at all times the characteristics that people with Down Syndrome have in common with all people - their individuality, dignity, right of choice and potential to benefit from appropriate opportunity.' Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

A Parents Guide to Down Syndrome: Toward a Brighter Future

By Sigfried Puschel – (from the back cover) “When a child with Down syndrome is born, most parents experience feelings of overwhelming shock and disbelief. What can they do? How will life change? Where can they turn for the support and advice they need in order to effectively advocate for their child? For more than 10 years, parents and professionals alike have trusted Dr. Pueschel’s best-selling book on raising children with Down syndrome. “

Teaching Math to People With Down Syndrome and Other Hands-On Learners, Book 1: Basic Survival Skills Deanna Horstmeier, Ph. D.

Great hands on ideas for helping people with Down syndrome master basic math survival skills.

Steps to Independence Bruce L Baker and Alan J Brightman—this is a great book for “toddler hood” and after. It is written to help those who are searching for a way to teach their child how to accomplish everyday tasks.

Understanding Down Syndrome: An Introduction for Parents

By Cliff Cunningham

A review from

This book is an excellent introduction to Down syndrome. The author of this book is British so it does not concentrate on US law as much as the book "Babies With Down Syndrome". This is the book to read after you have had a chance to catch your breath and are ready to learn some of the practical issues of raising a child with DS.

Down Syndrome: A Promising Future, Together

By Terry J. Hassold & David Patterson

A review from

This book is a collection of 34 articles summarizing many of the presentations at one of the recent NDSS annual conferences. The list of authors read like a who's who of the Down syndrome community. The book is divided into ten sections with articles ranging from advocacy to communication to education to the role of the family. The last section is made up of six articles written by people with Down syndrome. The book is very similar to the more recently published "Down Syndrome: Visions for the 21st Century," (ISBN: 0471418153). But this book is not replaced by the new edition. The articles in this book are different and are still very much worth reading. This isn't a book for a new parent and it certainly shouldn't be your first book on Down syndrome. There are other books such as "Babies with Down Syndrome," that would be a better choice as a first book. But this book does provide a lot of very useful and interesting information. Anyone interested in finding out what is going on in the world of Down syndrome will want to get a copy.

Early Communication Skills in Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents—Libby Kumin is considered one of the leading Speech Language Pathologists with regards to people with Down syndrome, her books are a great place to start learning about communicating with your child, and helping them communicate with you.
by Libby Kumin

Classroom Language Skills for Children With Down Syndrome:
A Guide for Parents and Teachers (Topics in Down Syndrome)

by Libby Kumin

Negotiating the Special Education Maze:
A Guide for Parents & Teachers
by Winifred Anderson, Stephen Chitwood (Contributor), Deidre Hayden (Contributor)

Definitely not a “first read” but a great resource as your child nears the age of three and transitions from Early Intervention to the school district.

Teaching Reading to Children With Down Syndrome:
A Guide for Parents and Teachers (Topics in Down Syndrome)

by Patricia Logan Oelwein

A great book with a great method for teaching reading…your child doesn’t have to be three or verbal to learn to read! This can work with very young children. Not needed for the first year but be prepared and start early with this book.

The Complete IEP Guide – a must have once your child nears the age of three

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law
by Peter W. D. Wright, Pamela Darr Wright

Another good book to get (or borrow from the library at first) once your child nears the age of three.

Inspirational books:

Angels Behind the Rocking Chair by Pam Vredevelt

Pam Vredevelt writes from a Christian point of view. She is a wife of a man in the ministry, a woman who gives talks, and a mother of three. Their third child was born with Down syndrome. Pam went through a period of depression. Slowly, she began to realize that there is beauty in having a "special needs" child. The messages of hope throughout this book make it an appropriate book to give to any friend who is going through a difficult time. This is a wonderful read, in short story format, so that you can read a little at a time. One of my favorite books!

Sometimes Miracles Hide
by Bruce Carroll

From one of our moms: “I loved "Sometimes Miracles Hide" especially the cd that went with it. The song is beautiful. I kept it in my car, and played it often. My older girls loved it too.”

A review from

This book changed my life in a matter of minutes. I am a 23 year old mother of a 9 month old baby boy that has down syndrome. I have come to realize that my son was an absolute gift. He was meant to be ours and we were meant to be his...this book gave me the extra inspiration that I sometimes need. When I get discouraged, I just read a few pages of this book and I instantly feel refreshed! This is a must have for parents of children with Down syndrome-the sooner you read it and listen to the beautiful song, the better!

Amazing Grace
by Jeff Cavins and Matthew Pinto

A review from

This book is riveting and pierces right to one's heart. In this collection of 10 true stories, written by the very people who suffered severe heartache of one kind or another, everyone should be able to find a situation they can relate to. And they can be greatly helped in finding God in all things, including pain and suffering. It's a long, difficult road from the time a heartache or trauma occurs until our spirits heal. This book would be a great help in sustaining and "walking with" anyone who is making such a journey. I can't recommend it highly enough!

From one of our moms:

This book was incredibly helpful for me while my daughter with Down syndrome was struggling with complicated heart issues for over a year. This is definitely not a book that I would run right out and get at first, but it is a wonderful book. There are others in the series (Amazing Grace for the Catholic Soul, Amazing Grace for Mothers, Amazing Grace for Married Couples) and I have read a few and all are excellent!

Purpose Driven Life
by Rick Warren

Not necessarily dealing with Down syndrome specifically, but a “generally inspirational” book.
Pastor of Saddleback Church, a Southern Baptist mega-church in southern California with weekly attendance of more than 15,000, Warren now applies his highly successful "purpose-driven" framework, developed in the best-seller The Purpose-Driven Church, to individual experience.