Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book Review - Don't Call Me Special

I am always interested in books that help children understand disabilities in other children. One of the first things I did after learning our daughter's diagnosis was to write a social story for her peers to try to help them understand her challenges as well as to assure them of the things they have in common with her. I checked with our library to see if there were books already published with that goal in mind and our excellent children's librarian provided me with a long list of books to look for. I was especially pleased the other day to see "Don't Call Me Special" sitting on the "NEW" shelf in the children's section of our library.

I like the artwork and the text in this book. It is geared toward younger children (I would guess ages 6-8). Some of the vocabulary and concepts may be challenging for the audience, but this story should be read with an adult anyway as the beginning of a conversation about accepting and being helpful to children with different abilities. I definitely enjoyed the way they present various disabilities and how everyone has some things that are hard for them so it is okay to be different and unique.

I am struggling a little with the title, and the pages that explain it. "Today many people with disabilities dislike being called special because it makes them sound too different from everyone else." I guess this harks back to the days of totally separate "special education." Although I do, more than ever now, understand the need to be careful about the labels that we attach to people, my understanding is that the currently most accepted term for disabilities is "special needs." If we are to ban the label "special" then what terminology are we to use? I think this will be particularly confusing for children. I know some people don't like the term "disability" because it makes it sound like they can't do anything. Differently-abled was popular for a while. It's a touchy subject and one that I fear may never be completely resolved because no matter what term is applied there is bound to be someone who is offended by it.

The only other thing I found a bit strange is the text at the beginning of the book. It seems to jump in a little too quickly. I found myself turning back a page to see if I had missed something or if two pages had stuck together.

Otherwise I think this is a great conversation starter for peers, siblings, and extended family members of children with special needs.

Other book reviews:
A Regular Guy
Handle With Care


Related Posts with Thumbnails