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The Connected Child
Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family

By Karyn Purvis, David Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

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Review by Allison Martin

The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family is a solid, well informed parenting book on attachment and child behavior, based on the authors experiences at the Institute of Child Development, Texas Christian University. This parenting book is an excellent resource for parents of children who need extra help in reaching their full potential: children with special needs and adopted or fostered children who have had difficult pasts. Readable, informed and useful, The Connected Child does an commendable job of summing up current, advanced parenting practices, pulling in knowledge from many different areas and professions into a experienced format which you can use with your own child.

The parenting advice in The Connected Child deserves a wide audience; not only is it beneficial for among parents struggling with attachment or behavior issues, but it will also benefit health care professionals and therapist working with these families. This book is especially useful for children from pre-school to early middle school age with special needs such as sensory integration dysfunction, ADD/ADHD, FAE, mild autism, and mood disorders and/or fostered or adopted children (adopted in the US or internationally) who have residual institutional impacts from orphanages, abusive, traumatic or deprived backgrounds, attachment difficulties, or other seemingly intractable issues.

The Connected Child provides detailed and practical techniques parents can use in teaching their children appropriate ways to behave, while responding in a loving manner. Parents are seen as guides and teachers who can help their children attain balance, self awareness and self esteem by teaching them how to handle strong emotions and impulsive reactions to upsetting events and circumstances. This book does demand a lot of parents, as they are seen as the main instrument of change. Implementation requires focus and commitment.

Children with special needs or difficult pasts may be damaged in many ways, which still affect them even as the events of the past are over. The authors of The Connected Child explain that this interference with their happiness and "normal" functioning may also have a biochemical basis, affecting the pathways of the brain. This book provides tools to help your child adjust to his surroundings in a loving manner. The books recommendations of ways to effect positive change are far ranging and very useful; topics include setting limits, handling hurtful behavior, sensory integration treatment, the importance of touch, listening skills, redirection, eye-contact, role of neurotransmitters, getting attention, seeing misbehavior as opportunity, providing corrections and do-over opportunities, just to name a few.

The Connected Child is an optimistic book, so while on bad days it may seem impossible, this book not only holds out hope, it provides realistic ways to achieve the closeness with your child you long for.

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