Shortly after Teresa gave birth to her second son, Nick, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Early infant and child intervention helped Nick reach developmental milestones in his own time. But there was more to come when Nick hit third grade. A wave of fire alarm-pulling along with other serious and dangerous behaviors signaled that this was something more than just Down syndrome.
At last, a book that takes a deep dive into the complexities that families face raising a child with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD) and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
A New Course is a hybrid of a memoir combined with valuable lessons following each chapter and in the appendix. It’s a must read for families, school faculty, therapists, physicians, and support groups wanting to understand a parent’s perspective and looking for answers about:
- Early intervention,
- Individual education plans (IEPs) and transition meetings,
- Speech, physical, and occupational therapies,
- Behavior support and applied behavior analysis (ABA),
- Toilet training and puberty issues,
- Wandering and elopement,
- Meltdowns, and
- Augmentative and alternative communication.
Author Teresa Unnerstall provides guidance and hope steeped in more than 25 years of experience. She is a parent turned educational speaker, writer, advocate, and consultant. Her determination to find resources, support, and specialists helped her son to reach his full potential.
Karin on Goodreads wrote:
I was looking for information but was not expecting to be entertained. While the book was disturbingly blunt about the journey of raising a down syndrome/autistic child, the author provided humor and described day-to-day events that brought her struggles and her successes to life. I also really appreciated the observations and takeaways at the end of each chapter and then in summary at the end of the book. Very insightful and very well written.
This book is beyond amazing. So beautiful written. So honest. A journey of a mother’s love for her son and the lengths she will go with her advocacy. Teresa writes so incredibly well, both informatively with facts and tips but also on a deep personal level that speaks to parents of special needs children. As a mother of a young child with a dual diagnosis this was a must read.