Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Review: "Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid"




Recently I read "Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid" by Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian. If you are looking for an entertaining and enlightening book about children with disabilities and their parents, this is it.

"Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid" is written from the point of view of two parents, Patty and Gina, who are each raising children with special needs. Patty and Gina provide solutions for difficulties parents often encounter including meeting with teachers, friends and meeting strangers. They stress how frustrating it is to hear about the "perfect" kids of others. One of the funniest points in the book is a section in which Patty and Gina compare what parents of some students may say and compare that to what they might say about their special needs kid. For example, "They say - My kid got the perfect attendance award." "We say - I'm just happy Johnny went to school!"

Although this book is written mostly towards parents of special needs students, as a teacher, it also gave me some good ideas on ways to make parents of special needs students feel more comforted and assured when I talk to them and gave tips that I can pass along to parents in need. It also was interesting to read about conferences and IEP meetings from the point of view of a parent and had ways to make parents feel more comfortable at a meeting.

Some of the best tips from the book include to say meaningful positive things about your students. Susie may have a beautiful pencil case but think of a compliment that goes beyond the surface. Gina and Patty also stressed asking parents about their children since the parents are an expert! Include them as part of a team in meetings, not sitting with all the staff across from them at a table.

The humor in the book makes it an easy read but the YouTube videos will really explain their point of view. I highly recommend them. I shared these videos with our entire staff and the whole room was filled with laughter.!

Have you ever read this book? What did you think about it?

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