Grandparenting a Child with Special Needs
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Charlotte E ThompsonJessica Kingsley PublishersISBN 978184310906812.99256 pages
I was very excited when I saw the title of this book. As a trustee of The Grandparents' Association, I thought it would provide support, information and "how to" advice, and the contents pages reinforced my expectations.
However, I found that, apart from a few chapters, this book is clearly written for an American audience - and for that reason is somewhat confusing and very frustrating for a UK reader. The few references to the UK do not compensate for the lack of in-depth research that could have been done about the support systems, schooling and welfare support that do exist in this country, even if much of it is inadequate and all of it inconsistent.
My experience in the UK of parents and grandparents whose children and grandchildren have special needs is that, without guts and tenacity, help is hard to find and, sadly, too often diagnosis is slow in being made. I cannot recommend this book as anything other than a sample of the way another welfare system with another professional language functions.
The global issues are relevant and know no geographical boundaries, in so much as what a grandparent expects when a child is born and how to combat disappointment and the ensuing grief. The anecdotal stories are often moving and well told. Maybe reading about others with similar experiences helps but as a practical guidebook for those living in countries other than the US it does not work. The American culture is so different to the UK's that even the simplest of advice does not meet UK requirements.