Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kregel Book Review: A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Austim, Faith, Determined Parenting by Karla Akins

A Pair of Miracles

Thanks Kregel for the opportunity to review another book.  As a trained elementary teacher with a heart for special needs kids. This book interested me immensely.  I'm also a twin, so I love to learn about other twins.

This book is written by an adoptive mother and pastor's wife, and she is a follower of Christ who knows that God will bless her and her family and will faithfully provide the help needed.
This book covers a few different dimensions:
1) It defines autism, shares strategies for navigating school, medical, and other services.
2) It shares personal challenges, struggles, prayers, stories, and successes.
3) It's a spiritual tool kit (as the back cover states.) This, to me, was the most impressive aspect.  The first chapters are about self care- recognizing the grief and God's goodness in all things.  The author successfully shares how her faith impacted her parenting, how God provided for their needs, and she shares scriptures and thoughts that are encouraging and help ground other people (parents, teachers, helpers,...) who work with kids who are challenged.
4) It offers practical tips that would apply to any parent of a special needs child.  She uses section headers within chapters, bulleted lists, and italics very well to make it simple to read, easy to find what you need, in a short amount of time.  But her tips are quality, and very valid, and helpful.  Especially for an overwhelmed parent new to this frontier and feeling lost or hopeless.  Many tips might seem obvious to some, but when you are in the role of parent/guardian/protector for a child who cannot communicate easily or at all, it's easy to forget where to start.  (i.e. showering is part of her school routine, as it's not natural or easy for her boys.).
5) Appendixes- these are very helpful, all in one place, and essential for newbies to autism.  Occupational Therapy (including tantrum or meltdown chart), Reinforcers/Rewards for school/home, Fidget toys, Functional Skills Checklist, Further Resources (books and websites).  These are AWESOME and tried and true.

This book is easy to read and follow, but is a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. It's so easy to find technical books that can loose a parent, and it's getting easier to find spiritual support as a parent of special needs, but to find one that includes both is a rare jewel.

I knew about autism, I've sat at IEP meetings as a parent and as a teacher, I've taught new teachers how to manage behavior in a classroom.   This book does it's job well, and was a great review for me to skim parts, and really read parts.  But as a parent of a child with different special needs, I found the spiritual principles integrated in her advice-  were spot on... represent your child with humble boldness, know you aren't alone, Jesus is there providing an advocate.  I also liked her explanations of how to be an 'intense' parent who has high standards for those who interact with her children, but how to identify the right type of people to add to the support team.  

It's my joy to read. It's my pleasure to review books.  It's a blessing when I enjoy them and find them easy to recommend, but I'm allowed to share my thoughts honestly.  Thank you Kregel for an excellent resource I can eagerly recommend to those who need it.