Recently, a good friend of mine, Elaine from Littlesheep Learning http://www.littlesheep-learning.co.uk/ wrote a short review of this book on her blog. I asked her whether she would be able to let me have a copy to look at and review, and instead she put me in touch with Antonia Chitty (one of the authors) who I have had previous contact with via a parenting forum we both used to use.
I have to say, I was not holding out much hope that this book would actually offer an "Essential Guide" (sorry Antonia - being honest here!). As a mother of a 5yr old with Down syndrome I have read various books over the years, and have not found that many that I would be happy to recommend to others, in fact I normally refer people to the booklets from the Down Syndrome Education Trust (http://www.downsed.org) rather than suggesting a book to read as a new parent.
However, I have to apologise to Antonia, as I thought that this book was excellent. Ok, it did not teach me anything new, but this is because I am 5 years down the line and someone who reads about DS on a regular basis. I do think, however, that the book is a great guide for anyone following a new diagnosis.
It covers a range of topics - antenatal testing, feelings post diagnosis, health concerns, early years, education, family life and more. It gives practical suggestions for things to make your life easier, and a fantastic list of support resources and websites at the back of the book. I could not think of anyone that I would normally recommend that had been missed off the list.
I was worried that the book would not be factually correct or might have used out of date information (again sorry for this Antonia - its just from experience of other books, not of your writing!) but again I need not have worried. The Down's Syndrome Association http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/ have obviously been involved throughout the writing of this book, as have parents of children with DS.
I felt that the tone was reassuring but also realistic, for instance it says that children with DS benefit from speech therapy throughout their lives but that you have to be persistant to get the level that they need. Tell me about it! this is the story of my life ;) hours and hours spent trying to increase speech therapy provision.
The book is available to buy now
I am going to pass on my copy to my daughters school - she is coming to the end of her first year at school and will have a new teacher and classroom assistant from September. I think that this book will give them a really good overview of my daughters genetic condition, and for them to understand some of the difficulties she may face. The book doesnt go into the help and support that they need to be giving her in class - for that I am still recommending good old DownsEd http://www.downsed.org - but this is a great way for them to quickly understand the basics about Down syndrome.
And then I am going to suggest that this title is added to our support group's lending library, a few copies! as I think that it really does give a great overview for new parents. Thank you Antonia :)