One, often unvoiced, concern for parents is whether their children love or care about them. The first section of the book consists of three letters from young people to their parents, showing clearly that though they may never have been able to say so directly, they do love and appreciate their parents, and what they have done for them - a strong message for all parents in a similar situation. Clements goes on to look at how the parenting agenda changes over time, how to see beyond the diagnoses and the constant need to deal with immediate problems, to see the real people who make up the family, the impact on siblings, how to manage the system and the multiple professional agencies over long periods of time, and how to think about the offer of medication to control behavior. An important section addresses some of the most distressing behavioral challenges: physical aggression, verbal abuse, long-term severe self-injury, property damage, and obsessions. Finally, Clements offers objective and open-minded reflections on received wisdom about two other unchallenged topics - sensory integration, and the usefulness or otherwise of boarding schools.
The book is practical, compassionate, and above all, useful. It will be of ongoing use to parents, and equally useful to professionals working with families encountering the issues covered.
128 pages. 2013