Published: 1 September 2019
ISBN ePUB: 978-1-920727-33-8
Categories: Parenting, coping with disability
Also available as an e-book
Melanie Dimmitt is an Australian journalist who has written for publications including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Collective Hub magazine, Broadsheet, The Tot and Mama Disrupt magazine, and has created content for Smack Bang Designs and You & Co Media.
A Perth native, who has also lived in Melbourne and London, Melanie currently lives in Sydney with her partner and two young children.
antidotes to the obsessions that come with a child’s disability.
Most of us expect to meander through the motions of love, marriage and (textbook) baby in the carriage, but once in a while life has something a little more special in store…
Special is an uplifting, candid companion for those in the early stages of navigating a child’s disability, offering honest, reassuring and relatable insight into a largely unknown (and so, initially terrifying) part of our world.
It features antidotes to the obsessions at the forefront of a newly minted special-needs parent’s mind: Why has this happened to me? Will I ever stop comparing my child to typical children? How will my relationship survive? Will I be able to work again? Should I have another baby? And the big one: What will my future look like?
Inspired by the author’s own crash-landing into special-needs parenthood, and shaped by her conversations with parents of children with wide-ranging disabilities, alongside specialists, psychologists and researchers, Special shares stories, guidance and simple coping strategies to soothe and surprise anyone whose life has taken an unexpected turn.
Praise for Special
‘Raw, brave and compelling. This book airs a parent's most guilt-riddled thoughts and then turns them on their head.’
‘Special is so beautifully written, touching, helpful and insightful. I wish, wish, wish I had it ten years ago! If I had known the joy and happiness being a special-needs mother would bring, my blanket of suffering would have been lifted. It’s going to be a lifesaver for special needs parents.’
‘Bold, honest, sometimes funny and always illuminating without being didactic, Special will shatter your heart and put it back together again. This book will do much good in the world.’
‘Special shares authentic, frank and emotional perspectives that will surely resonate with many new parents to children with disabilities. Beyond the openness and candor, this book builds into a positive, practical and optimistic story of hope and validation that gives the rest of us a glimpse into, as Melanie puts it, ‘the love, joy and total, transformative awesomeness of parenting a child with disability’.
JORDAN O’REILLY, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, HIREUP
‘Melanie captures both the high highs and the low lows of raising a child with special needs, in a book that delivers equal doses of relief and hope sandwiched in amongst one, big reality shock. Special is slap-in-the-face honesty at its absolute best – it will open you up to explore all corners of your emotions.’
PAUL POZZOBON - MANAGING DIRECTOR NAPA CENTRE, FATHER OF MAX, 8, CEREBELLAR ATAXIA
‘This beautifully and skilfully written book shares the raw and honest emotions in raising a child with disability from parents across the globe. Written with humour and a light-hearted approach, Special explores many concepts from diagnosis to relationships and community. This exceptional book is a must read for all special-needs parents.’
EMMA PRICE, CEO SOURCE KIDS
‘Melanie captures parents perspectives of raising a child with different needs like no other book has done before. There should be more books like this to help parents in the early years, when for many of us every day feels like we are in a fog we can’t escape. There are so many positives to parenting our children but we can’t always see them at the start of our journey and as Melanie says, “that is okay”. Every child tells their own story, we shouldn’t put limits on them, but embrace every child for who they are, love them and cherish them.’
HEATER RENTON - FOUNDER OF SYNDROMES WITHOUT A NAME (SWAN) AUSTRALIA
‘As a therapist with over 40 years experience Special is the first of its kind that I have read. It will make a great addition to the arsenal of tools that we use to help parents though the haze of a new diagnosis.’
DEBRA EVANS, DIRECTOR, THERAPIES FOR KIDS
‘Special is an honest, beautifully written, and realistic account of the important issues that preoccupy the minds of families. This incredibly hopeful book combines the experiences of families with the latest evidence in positive psychology into a compelling message. It provides the reassurance and guidance that I needed when I was in this situation almost three decades ago, and so I believe this book is essential for those who have found themselves on this unexpected pathway.’
SYLVANA MAHMIC, CEO, PLUMTREE CHILDREN’S SERVICE