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My Child's Different: The lessons learned from one family's struggle to unlock their son's potential Paperback – 31 Aug 2018
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It is really important that we provide young people with the support they need to succeed, and to understand dyslexia as a different and brilliant way of thinking. Alternative thinking can spur creativity and innovation and has the power to change the world. This book shows how with the right support, young people can maximise their potential. --Sir Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, philanthropist and founder of the Virgin Group
Elaine Halligan s 'My Child's Different' is a must-read for any parent bringing up a child who is seen as different or difficult. The unique combination of her personal account of Sam s troubled early years together with the contributions of positive parenting expert Melissa Hood makes this a practical, inspirational read for any parent worried about what the future looks like for their child. --Susan Stiffelman, marriage and family therapist and author of Parenting without Power Struggles and Parenting with Presence
Compelling, engaging and eloquently written, 'My Child's Different' is also brutally honest, as Elaine Halligan takes you inside the chaos of special needs provision and sheds light on the stark realities of social exclusion.
Elaine and Sam's journey is an incredible story of hope, and its retelling in this book is perfectly balanced with positive parenting theory, practical guidance and the intense unconditional love that all parents will relate to.
Every parent needs to read 'My Child's Different'.--Paul Dix, Executive Director, Pivotal Education and author of When the Adults Change, Everything Changes
Every child is different and every child can reach their potential. 'My Child’s Different' just proves it. I will definitely be recommending it to parents I come into contact with.
- Naomi Richards, life coach, The Kids Coach – www.thekidscoach.org.uk – and author of The Parent’s Toolkit and Being Me (and Loving It)
'My Child’s Different' could only have been written by a parent who’s been there and successfully come out the other side. It will inspire parents who may be feeling at their wits’ end over how to cope and how to best support their ‘challenging’ child.
Elaine’s deeply moving and personal account of her son Sam’s journey – and how well he’s turned out – will offer plenty to save parents from catastrophising about what will become of their child, and her guidance will instead put them into a more proactive mode to overcome the challenges faced. Any parent with a child who has been diagnosed with learning or behavioural difficulties, or simply feels that their child is in some way ‘different’, will find great relief here.
An important book that will undoubtedly change many lives for the better, 'My Child’s Different' is also a must-read for educators and anyone working with children so that they can gain a better understanding of how to support their challenging students, and be able to recommend this book to their families.
Kelly Pietrangeli, author and ‘Mama Motivator’, Project Me for Busy Mothers
In 'My Child’s Different' Elaine Halligan has had the imagination and the wisdom to tell her story both as a mother and as someone with skills and training in parenting education. It is a mother’s story told from the heart that many will identify with, and indeed learn many pearls of wisdom from.
I found the book hard to put down; it’s as if you’re sitting in Elaine’s kitchen over a cup of tea – hearing just how hard it was to raise her special boy with his complex needs, and learning of his transformation into the remarkable young man he has turned out to be. Melissa Hood’s commentary also provides bonus points of knowledge and practicality that any time-poor parent would crave.
I will be recommending 'My Child’s Different' to my clients, whether they have a ‘different’ child or not. This book is simply a gem in the mountain of parenting advice out there.
- Judy Reith, parenting coach, author and founder of Parenting People – www.parentingpeople.co.uk
I love this book! Beautifully written with marvellous clarity and candour, Elaine Halligan’s narrative shares the ups and downs, the daily challenges, the small sequential steps forward and the heartbreaks and triumphs of parenting Sam.
Sam’s story is one of remarkable ultimate success, but the book is not a sugarcoated ‘Pollyanna’ account – rather it is one filled with exquisite details of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back experience of raising a child with a significant disability. Further gifts for the reader include insights from Sam’s therapist, and even commentary from Sam himself.
Filled with humour, warmth and consummate honesty, 'My Child’s Different' is a wonderful testament to energy, to focus, to perseverance and to love.
- Emily Perl Kingsley, former director, National Down Syndrome Congress and former writer, Sesame Street
'My Child’s Different is a wonderful guide to navigating the choppy waters of parenthood. With wit, warmth and wisdom, Elaine Halligan shows us how to help our children overcome the toughest obstacles to find their own place in the world.
- Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slow and Under Pressure
Elaine’s journey with her out-of-sync son shows that the proof is in the pudding. Despite her fears and worries, her belief and trust in Sam paved the way for him to not only find himself but to succeed brilliantly.
'My Child’s Different' can provide us all with renewed faith in our own children, regardless of the difficulties we experience with them along the way, and offers plenty of professional advice that will be of benefit to any parent.
- Bonnie Harris, Director, Connective Parenting – www.connectiveparenting.com – and author of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons
An engaging and page-turning read, 'My Child’s Different' will appeal to a wide readership and should be a required text for anyone working with children with SEN or in their local authority’s department of education. And for those readers who are parents of children with SEN, the light at the end of the tunnel shines through in this book – offering hope, encouragement and plenty of sympathetic, wise and useful advice from a parent (and parenting expert) who, having experienced the dark days of despair and worry herself, knows what it feels like to be pushed around by officialdom just because their child does not ‘fit in’, yet still, rightly, strives for the very best for that child.
The whole Halligan family should be thanked for their honesty and openness in writing 'My Child’s Different', and I think this book will do a great deal of good.
- Barry Huggett, OBE, Principal, More House Foundation
About the Author
Elaine Halligan is a director at The Parent Practice and has been a parenting specialist since 2006, helping parents raise competent and confident children through parenting classes, private coaching and keynote speaking in schools and corporate settings both in the UK and overseas. She is frequently quoted in the broadsheet press and regularly appears on Sky News, BBC local radio and BBC world news. Her mission is to help parents find the holy grail of parenting: keeping calm.
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Look forward to seeing the next book Elaine.
If, like me, you find yourself day-dreaming that it is you who was Sam’s mother or, more exciting still, you who blossomed into the Sam of today, driving rally cars across the desert and lying under the stars with Amazonian tribes, or if you feel sad once the book has ended, it really does help to speak to yourself as if you were Sam’s mother in therapeutic mode. Not only will you feel better, not only will you have reminded yourself of what should always precede logic in effective therapy: you will also have affirmed for yourself what all children all the way up to age eighteen (and beyond) need most at fraught times: and you will have become a child/teen-whisperer. This book is already a classic.
Within a week of reading this book, I feel happier in my role as a mum. I’m focusing more on the descriptive and observational praise and I’ve seen some effects immediately. It’s going to take time but it’s so much better than reward charts and control. I’m really looking forward to how this will positively affect our family.
Thank you Elaine for sharing your story, and to Sam, for allowing your journey to be told, helping so many other families. It’s a brave thing to do.
Such an honest reflection of a difficult journey of resilience, belief, hope and above all love. You feel as though you are with the Halligans on this rollercoaster where pure grit, determination and a commitment to question and gain the necessary knowledge and understanding every step of the way finally pay off. Thank you for sharing and helping us all ask questions, challenge and believe.
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