Reviews — 5 Minutes for Special Needs



Originally posted over at my own site,, I wanted to share this book and review with all of you as well. I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did.

I was lucky to get an advance copy of Nan Rossiter’s latest novel, Words Get in the Way. A fiction novel about a mother’s struggle with a child with Autism.

Callie Wyeth is a young single mom living in rural New Hampshire and struggling to make ends meet.  Henry is her beautiful three year old son who is trapped in the silent and lonely world of autism. The obstacles they face are overwhelming.

Linden Finch finds peace rebuilding old stone walls. He has loved Callie since he was seventeen but when she unexpectedly and without explanation breaks off their relationship after their third year of college, he is shattered. He never returns to college and instead spends several months hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he finally returns to New Hampshire, he settles into a life of solitude with only a menagerie of rescued farm animals for company.

Callie and Linden have no knowledge of the twists and turns in each other’s life path. After four long years, however, Henry’s autism and her father’s poor health force Callie to return to New Hampshire. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, Linden is stunned to discover that Callie has a son…and he finds himself reaching out and offering help. Henry begins spending time with Linden so Callie can visit her dad and the warm, funny relationship that develops between Henry, Linden and the animals has a profound effect on everyone.

As a mother of an autistic child myself, I was glad to see that the author not only depicted a child with autism in a realistic way, but also the struggles of the mother. So many times books glaze over the mothers feelings or, even worse, trivialize them as the over-bearing and frazzled care takers. Nan Rossiter perfectly captures the emotions from struggles to joy in this book.

One line that resonated with me was this, a thought from Callie,

Every child has tantrums, she thought, so how does the parent of a child with autism know if the trigger is some inner turmoil or plain, old- fashioned defiance?

Oh boy do I struggle with this one every day. Sometimes I know Brady is in pain, or nervous and that is the reason for his tantrums, but sometimes I’m not so sure. Everything is a learning experience for the both of us.

In addition to the great story of a mother’s love, there is also a love story in this for the mother. A perfect pairing of romance and the struggles of life with a special needs child, this book is sure to become a favorite.

To learn more about the author, check out this interview in the Housatonic Times.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book, releasing today, on Amazon or at your local book store.


disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book for my review. Thoughts and opinions are mine an honest. No monetary compensation was made. 


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Anne Moore Burnett’s “Step Ahead of Autism” Reviewed

“Autism is not a puzzle but an opportunity to step up to the challenge and be the best parent you can be.”
                                           – Anne Moore Burnett

How many of us have thought about staying a step ahead of Autism instead of trailing behind picking up the pieces?  Anne Moore Burnett, author of “Step Ahead of Autism: what you can do to ensure the best possible outcome for your child” has….and she’s passing along what she’s learned.

Step Ahead of Autism by Anne Moore BurnettUnlike many Autism books, Anne Moore Burnett’s suggestions are concise, easy to manage, and are presented with her real life experiences. She narrows the enormous field of possible things we each could do for our children into a “10 Step System”.

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A few years ago, I fell in love with Signing Time. Jack was struggling to do much more than scream and I was increasingly frustrated. In a last ditch effort, I bought some DVDs and prayed that he would communicate with me. Slowly, he began to sign (things like more and done) and I felt like maybe I could communicate with him.

That’s when I decided that I was going to stalk Rachel Coleman (co-Founder and general all-around awesome human being). I followed her on Twitter and began to join the weekly Signing Time chat (sadly, they’re no longer doing it–because it was SUPER fun!).

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Rebuilding Life – An Interview With a Pro Who “Gets” Us

You know those stories we all tell about our kids’ care team professionals who don’t have a clue? The ones who clearly don’t know at all what life is like outside their 15-minute office visit with our child and her challenges? My guest today is NOT one of those professionals! Harriet Cabelly is a Life Coach who’s also a mom of an grown child with special needs. She specializes in helping individuals and families rebuild their lives – and grow into even better ones – despite challenges they face. I’m excited to introduce her to everyone here today!

Q: Harriet, please tell us a little about you and what you do.

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Special Needs Toy Guide

I have been working on a toy guide for special needs kids for some time. I pitched the idea to and they were just as excited as I was about it. Basically, how this guide differs from others out there, is it is compiled 100% by a mom of a special needs kid. My son has been in therapy since he was 14 months old for a host of reasons. I was tired of spending hundreds of dollars on therapy tools when I could achieve the same goals with toys we already had on hand. I will be adding to this guide as time goes on and I find other great everyday items that can help in our multiple therapies.

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Book Review: House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Most people just don’t get it right. When they write for us, about us, or to us. When it comes to others’ view of our lives in families with special needs, I’ve never seen anyone show it like it really is.*

The lack of realism, empathy (and appropriate gallows humor) is partly why I’m writing a book for special needs parents right now. It’s certainly why I’ve plowed through over 25 other titles in my research. Unbelievably, the first mainstream book I’ve found that nails what life is like as parents of a special needs child is a novelHouse Rules by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square Press, 2010).

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iPod Touch and iPad Apps for Special Needs

In my last post I mentioned how we use an iPod Touch to help Peanut communicate.  Dana, a speech pathologist, asked me what apps we have found useful in helping Peanut with her communication.  We have found a few apps that we like, but I thought it would be fun to see what everyone else is using.  I know there are so many apps to choose from!

Leave a comment with the apps you have found and what you like about them.  Also, if you know it, you might want to list how much it costs.

Here is my list.  I believe all of these apps can be used on the iPod or iPad.  

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What are your favorite parenting books?

My friends and I get together twice a month to just be. Be ourselves and not always mom or caregiver or advocate. Just us.

Recently we were all talking about books and resources we’ve found helpful as parents. Some of us have kids with tough behaviors. My own kids have bipolar and struggle with behaviors connected with their early life in foster care. It’s not always easy to find good resources for the tough behavior issues. So I made up a list of what I’ve found most helpful over the years. Here’s what I use, and what I often share when I’m speaking at parent groups.

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Being The Other One

I just finished reading Kate Strohm’s book Being the Other One: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister Who Has Special Needs.

When I told a co-worker a couple of years ago about my daughter having special needs, she said “My friend’s sibling had a disability and as soon as she was old enough, she and all her siblings moved away because they were so sick of being treated poorly.”

I thought immediately of my two other children at home and realized that they might need some special attention.  Although I could never imagine them leaving town in disgust, I thought I’d better be proactive about it.

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You’ve already heard that April is Autism Awareness month. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently…

Thanks to my affiliation with 5 Minutes for Special Needs I was asked to review a documentary called Loving Lampposts. It is a beautiful movie, and it is due out on DVD yesterday. You can read my extensive review here. The short version: please see this movie if you want to learn more about autism, and show it to others who need to learn more about autism. At the very least people will learn how complex and controversial this disorder is, and a small glimpse of what so many families are experiencing first hand.

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