We are beginning the adventure of explaining to our daughter what her challenges are, where they come from, and how she can use her strengths to overcome them. It's an adventure that we knew would come one day, and one that we have started as some of her peers have started to notice and comment on her differences. We want her to be able to explain it to others and hopefully become her own best advocate. Eventually her siblings will need to understand why their Sissy is different, too. I've been looking around for resources and came across this book one day at our local library. We have been advised by trusted resources that the first step of the journey is to begin to recognize and comment on "differences" in people in everything from hair color to physical abilities. Each day I try to point out one way that people are different from each other. One day it was how people get to school. We want to make "differences" be normal. This book coincided nicely with that goal.
Special People Special Ways is written in rhyme, which makes it a catchy read for language learners. Every page has sweet illustrations of children with different abilities and ethnic backgrounds. Of course in the illustrations as in the real world the most obvious "differences" are physical - a wheelchair, a white cane, a guide dog (or monkey!), or crutches. Still the text addresses children with communication challenges, learning challenges, and more subtle differences. The overall message of the book is that each child is unique, each child is valuable, and each child needs help in different ways. Everyone is important and loved. We read the book with all of our children and enjoyed interacting with them around these characters. It is targeted toward a young audience, I would say ages 4-7. It does not address any deeper questions about the various challenges these children face.
I think this is a beautiful introduction to the diverse needs of people all around us. I was sad to have to return it to the library and will probably seek it out again as we approach the next phase of the adventure. Stay tuned.