Melanie, Bird with a Broken Wing: A Mother's Story / Edition 1

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Gripping, raw, and beautiful, this book reveals the struggles and rewards of caring for a child with severe disability and helps professionals work more sensitively and effectively with families of children with special needs. Written with grace and candor by special education professional Beth Harry, the book chronicles the life of her daughter, Melanie, who was born with a rare form of cerebral palsy and died less than 6 years later. Captivating the reader from page one, Dr. Harry illuminates the full spectrum of her parenting experiences from the day her "little bird" came into the world to the day she left. Readers will come away with a deep understanding of the complex emotions that parents experience as they adjust to life with a child who has special needs the practical and emotional aspects of supporting a child with feeding difficulties, vision impairment, and limited motor skills the joy parents experience when their child begins to communicate and make personal connections the lasting impact a professional's words can have on a parent, and the need to provide positive support that allows a child to reach her full potential the services, therapies, and interventions that improved Melanie's quality of life and how they've changed since her story began in the 1970s Ideal for use as a supplemental text in courses for preservice early interventionists, early childhood special educators, special educators, and health professionals, this book gives readers an unforgettable inside look at what families experience when their child has a disability and how to meet their needs as their child grows. Eye-opening and inspiring, Melanie, Bird with a Broken Wing will leave a lasting impression and will, as Dr. Harry urges, prepare readers "to believe the messages of their hearts as they make professional decisions."

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Editorial Reviews

Batya Elbaum

"A moving and beautifully crafted memoir…"
Exceptional Parent magazine - Nancy Henderson
"The details in Harry's story are painfully wrenching and often quite riveting despite the familiarity of her ordeal, which many families of children with disabilities will understand."
University of Texas, Austin - Sharon Vaughn
"A must read for anyone working with individuals with disabilities . . . a remarkable story told from the heart."
Medical Director, TASC Network, Toronto, Canada - Karen Pape
"This book about a child and her mother, written with compassion and insight, is a must read text for healthcare professionals."
M.A. special education candidate, The Ohio State University - Janette Long
"Anyone in the field of special needs and special education should read the book . . . it gives us a nice glimpse into the life and mind of a mother of a child with special needs. I would recommend this book to anyone."
M.Ed. visual impairment candidate, The Ohio State University - Tara McCarthy
"This was not just a story for parents, it was both a professional and a life lesson . . . the unfiltered emotional descriptions throughout the story, the heartfelt poetry, and the photographs of Melanie truly inspired me."
M.Ed. visual impairment candidate, The Ohio State University - Megan Rutschilling
"Shows what love, spirit, believing, and never giving up can do. Everyone should read it!"
M.A. intervention specialist candidate, The Ohio State University - Christina Woolard
"Outstanding . . . As I read this book I cried, laughed, and felt fortunate that the author chose to share her daughter with us. What a beautiful story of strength, hope, determination, and love. I would certainly recommend this book for future classes."
M.Ed. hearing impairments candidate, The Ohio State University - Jessica Ware
"Beth Harry has shown great courage and progression of strength through her ability to recall the events of her daughter's life and create such an inspiring piece of work."
Professor of Early Childhood Special Education, Syracuse University; co-author, Families, Infants, & Young Children at R - Gail L. Ensher
"Instructive, compassionate, beautifully written, and truly inspirational—a must read for every student and professional who works with families and children with disabilities and special health care needs."
Psychologist, parent, author Special Children, Challenged Parents, co-editor Voices from the Spectrum - Robert A. Naseef
"This beautifully written memoir is deeply moving and insightful. With courage and honesty this mother struggles through her darkest moments which unfold into a profound connection with her child."
Child & Adolescent Center, Trinidad & Tobago - Penny Camps
"This exquisitely written memoir shows the awesome responsibility professionals have in appreciating and reinforcing a parent's hopefulness. Beth's interactions with professionals show how hope can contribute to or undermine a parent's strength, a child's development, and the family's enthusiasm in engaging the arduous but always fulfilling journey."
Associate Professor of Education, School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder - Janette Klingner
"A wonderful book! It is beautifully and honestly written—a true testament to a mother's love."
Community of Practice and Curriculum Coordinator, SpecialQuest Birth-Five - Susan Lei Lani Stewart
"There are many points in the book where I would ask the students to discuss the situation from multiple angles—maybe even do some role playing—and then think about how they might, as professionals, change how they interact parents as a result of the reading . . . [this book] is truly a gift to many."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598571134
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 302,647
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth Harry, Ph.D., is a professor of special education at the University of Miami in Florida. A native of Jamaica, Beth graduated from St. Andrew High School in 1962 and went on to pursue her bachelor of arts and master's degrees at the University of Toronto and her doctorate at Syracuse University. Beth has been a teacher all of her adult life, including teaching English at the secondary and community college levels and special education at all levels. Beth's current work focuses on teaching and research related to disability, multicultural, and family issues. She lived in Trinidad for 12 years, where both her children—Melanie and Mark Teelucksingh—were born.

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Table of Contents

About the Author vii

Acknowledgments ix

Part I

Chapter 1 With a Whimper 2

Chapter 2 Melanie 5

Chapter 3 Empty Hands 7

Chapter 4 The Sweet Bird 10

Chapter 5 The Dream Is Me 16

Chapter 6 Crashing 21

Chapter 7 Gargling 26

Chapter 8 Choking 32

Chapter 9 Vomiting 36

Chapter 10 In Our Hands 40

Chapter 11 “Oh, God! No!” 47

Chapter 12 The Bearer of Bad News 51

Chapter 13 Nestargel 58

Chaprer 14 The Spiral Staircase 62

Chapter 15 Smiling 67

Chapter 16 Initial Assessments 69

Chapter 17 Seeing 74

Chapter 18 Interpreting 79

Chapter 19 Swallowing 84

Chapter 20 Invisible Chains 89

Chapter 21 Love and Faith 93

Chaptet 22 Mummy Therapy 95

Chapter 23 A Very Sick Baby 98

Chapter 24 The Turning Point 103

Chapter 25 Sleep Feeding 108

Chapter 26 Thriving 111

Chapter 27 Naming the World 114

Chapter 28 Morning Has Broken 121

Part II

Chapter 29 Mark 126

Chapter 30 Seeking Another View 129

Chapter 31 The Forest or the Trees? 132

Chapter 32 Joan and Wendy 136

Chapter 33 The Shade of the Immortelle 139

Chapter 34 Bobath Therapy 141

Chapter 35 A Temporary Goodbye 146

Chapter 36 “Yes!” 148

Chapter 37 Back to School 151

Chapter 38 Magnificent Helpers 154

Chapter 39 A Happy 4-Year-Old 159

Chapter 40 A New Decade 166

Chapter 41 Dynamic Reassessment 168

Chapter 42 CT Scan 174

Chapter 43 Btain Gazing 176

Chaptet 44 Mercedes and Elizabeth 181

Chapter 45 The Spreading Branches of the Immortelle 185

Chapter 46 A Fairy-Tale Morning 191

Chaptet 47 From Fairy Tale to Nightmare 194

Chapter 48 The Worst of Times 197

Chapter 49 The End 198

Chapter 50 She Looks All Right 201

Chapter 51 Goodbye 203

Epilogue 204

Melanie 207

References 209

Reader's Guide 211

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