Monday, November 14, 2011
Book Review: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel
This is my very first book review and I'm so excited to be doing a book that is literally full of great ideas and helpful suggestions. I picked up my copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel by Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons at the LDStorymakers conference last April. I know some of you might be thinking "why?" I don't have a child with special needs, and I currently don't work with anyone with special needs.
Well, I had several reasons.
First, I teach sunbeams in my ward. None of them have special needs, but as many of you know, teaching three and four years requires a lot of creative energy. I secretly hoped I'd find good ideas that would help me with my teaching. I was not disappointed.
The book covers stages from primary to adult. The primary chapters contained ideas for leaders, teachers, primary presidencies, and even activity days and cub scouting. One thing that really stood out was how many times adaptions made for children with special needs benefited the whole class or primary. For example, I now would like to create a schedule using visual aids to help my sunbeams understand our routine in our classroom.
The second reason I picked up this book was because I have worked with people with special needs in the past and in the future I plan on completing a degree as a special education teacher.
This book answered so many questions and I plan on keeping it in my library for future reference. The chapters are carefully arranged so that if you have a question, all you have to do is look for the chapter that covers that subject. Within each chapter they refer you back to other helpful chapters if you have more questions. This isn't a book you have to read from start to finish and remember everything. It is designed to be returned to time after time when new struggles or questions arise.
The third reason I picked up this book is because I have family members who struggle with different special needs. I wanted to be more informed and to better understand some of the difficulties that they face.
This book is great at explaining different disabilities and helping people outside of the immediate family to understand and know what they can do to help. I loved how they talked about creating relationships and how rewarding the experience of getting to know these special spirits can be.
The best part of this book was the unexpected things I found. Ideas to be a better parent and spouse, tips on how to help adults struggling with depression and other mental illness, sweet testimonies, and many tender stories of adaptions made, miracles seen, and unexpected successes found.
This book not only fulfilled my expectations, but also gave me insight and inspiration for other aspects of my life. It is carefully and sincerely written. It shows how everyone is important to God. The authors reminded me that no matter how much effort it may take, we will all be uplifted and changed for the better when we focus on our abilities and work together to come to Christ.