Recommended Reading


Cunningham, Cliff. Understanding Down Syndrome: An Introduction for Parents Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. 1999. (3rd printing).

An overview for new parents and professionals of children with Down syndrome.".

Pueschel, Siegfried M. (Ed.). A Parent's Guide to Down Syndrome: Toward a Brighter Future. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing. 2001.

A comprehensive reference book especially for new parents, but useful and informative for "seasoned" parents as well. Topics include: history of Down syndrome; developmental expectations; early intervention; the school years; recreation; adolescence and adulthood; vocational training and employment. 800-638-3775;

Selikowitz, Mark. Down Syndrome, The Facts. New York: Oxford University Press. 1997.

A substantial yet uncomplicated handbook written for parents, by a pediatrician, with basic information and observations. 800-451-7556.

Stray-Gundersen, Karen. (Ed.) Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parent's Guide. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1995 (2nd Edition).

A comprehensive guide for new parents, covering all aspects of care for babies and young children. 800-843-7323;


Palmer, Greg. Adventures in the Mainstream: Coming of Age with Down Syndrome. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2005.

A father’s inspiring account of life with his son, Ned, as he graduates from high school and prepares for his first “real” job. 800-843-7323;

Pueschel, Siegfried M. and Maria Sustrova (Eds.). Adolescents with Down Syndrome: Toward a More Fulfilling Life. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing. 1997.

Insight and information on biomedical, psychological, social, behavioral, educational, vocational, and legal concerns. 800-638-3775;

Staub, Debbie. Delicate Threads: Friendships Between Children With and Without Special Needs in Inclusive Settings. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1998.

Examines the friendship between children with and without disabilities in an inclusive elementary school. Provides a rare view of the nature of these friendships, their impact on the children, as well as their parents and teachers. 800-843-7323;


McGuire, Dennis and Brian Chicoine. Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2006.

Directors of the Adult Down Syndrome Center in Illinois share their experience in working with more than 3000 patients since 1992. This book addresses specific disorders and diagnoses, and offers treatment ideas for both professionals and caregivers.

Pueschel, Siegfried M. (Ed.). Adults with Down Syndrome. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing. 2006.

A comprehensive book on the social, clinical, legal, and personal issues faced by adults with Down syndrome. The book blends contributions by professionals who work with adults with DS along with personal essays by self-advocates. Topics include: medical and mental health, employment, post-secondary education, social relationships and living arrangements. 800-638-3775;


Kidder, Cynthia and Brian Skotko. Common Threads: Celebrating Life with Down Syndrome. Rochester Hills, MI: Band of Angels Press. 2001.

An essay and photographic celebration of inspirational accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. 800-963-2237;

Lynard-Soper, Kathryn (Ed.). Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2007.

In this candid and poignant collection of personal stories, sixty-three mothers describe the gifts of respect, strength, delight, perspective, and love that their child with Down syndrome has brought into their lives. The contributors to this collection have diverse personalities and perspectives, and draw from a wide spectrum of ethnicity, world views, and religious beliefs. Some are parenting within a traditional family structure; some are not. Some never considered terminating their pregnancy; some struggled with the decision. Some were calm at the time of diagnosis; some were traumatized. Some write about their pregnancy and the months after giving birth; some reflect on years of experience with their child. Their diverse experiences point to a common truth: The life of a child with Down syndrome is something to celebrate.800-843-7323;

Marsh, Jayne D.B. and Carol Boggins (Eds.). From the Heart: On Being the Mother of a Child with Special Needs. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1995.

Narratives from nine mothers raising children with special needs. 800-843-7323;

Meyer, Donald J. (Ed.). Uncommon Fathers: Reflections on Raising a Child with a Disability. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1995.

Written for fathers, by fathers of diverse backgrounds. 800-843-7323;

Miller, Nancy B. Nobody's Perfect: Living & Growing with Children Who Have Special Needs. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing. 1994.

Although this book does not mention Down syndrome, it was written for any parent who has a child with special needs in their family. It gives much insight into the parental concerns of raising a child with special needs. 800-638-3775;

Rynders, John E. and J.M. Horrobin. Down Syndrome: Birth to Adulthood: Giving Families an Edge. Denver: Love Publishing. 1995.

Case studies of families woven in a clear, readable fashion, followed by practical suggestions to help both parents and professionals alike. 303-757-2579;

Stallings, Gene. Another Season. New York: Broadway Books. 1998.

Gene Stallings recounts his life as a football coach and a father, focusing on his relationship with his son Johnny, who has Down syndrome.

Trainer, Marilyn. Differences in Common: Straight Talk on Mental Retardation, Down Syndrome and Life. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1991.

A rich collection of essays by a mother of an adult child with Down syndrome. Contains insightful anecdotes and personal reflections on the feelings and experiences connected with parenting a child with Down syndrome. 800-843-7323;

Zuckoff, Mitchell. Choosing Naia: A Family’s Journey. Boston: Beacon Press. 2002. A routine ultrasound reveals that the baby Tierney carries has a major heart defect, leading doctors to suspect Down syndrome. This book follows the Fairchild family and the decisions they must make regarding their unborn baby. 617-742-2110;


Bruni, Maryanne. Fine Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, Second Edition. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2006.

A practical and accessible guide to understanding and developing fine motor skills in children with Down syndrome. 800-843-7323;

Kranowitz, Carol Stock. The Out of Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. New York: Pedigree Books. 2003.

Provides a description of sensory integration dysfunction and includes dozens of activities with information on appropriate developmental age, equipment needed, how to prepare, what the child can do and what the benefits are.

Kumin, Libby. Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2003.

Focuses on speech and language development from birth through the stage of making three-word phrases. Covers problem areas and treatment. 800-843-7323.

Kumin, Libby. Classroom Language Skills for Children with Down Syndrome. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2001.

Covers the language needs of children in school, from kindergarten to adolescence, and how to address those needs in the IEP as well as adapting school work. 800-843-7323;

MacDonald, James D. Communicating Partners: 30 Years of Building Responsive Relationships with Late-Talking Children. London. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 2004.

Practical strategies that families can use to help their children develop positive, engaging, and fun connections with others.

Miller, Jon F., Mark Leddy and Lewis A. Leavitt. Improving the Communication of People with Down Syndrome. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing. 1999.

Provides a framework for assessing and treating speech, language, and communication problems in children and adults with Down syndrome. 800-638-3775;

Schwartz, Sue. The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skills to Children with Special Needs. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2004. (3rd Edition).

Ideas to help stimulate language development in children with special needs through play. 800-843-7323;

Winders, Patricia C. Gross. Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1997.

Provides parents and professionals with essential information about motor development associated with Down syndrome. 800-843-7323;


Medlen, Joan Guthrie. The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook: A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles. Bethesda, MD: 2002.

A comprehensive guide teaching nutrition and healthy living for children with Down syndrome from birth through young adulthood. 800-843-7323;

VanDyke, Don C. and Philip Mattheis, Susan Eberly, Janet Williams (Eds.). Medical & Surgical Care for Children with Down Syndrome. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1995.

A guide for parents providing detailed, easy-to-understand information on a wide range of medical conditions. 800-843-7323;


Beckman, Paula J. and Gayle Beckman Boyes. Deciphering the System: A Guide for Families of Young Children with Disabilities. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. 1993.

Provides basic information about parents' rights and many other aspects of the service system. Hundreds of good ideas and step-by-step suggestions for handling educational planning meetings. 800-666-2665.

Eason, Anne I. and Kathleen Whitbread. IEP and Inclusion Tips for Parents and Teachers. Verona, WI. IEP Resources. 2006.

Easy to read format with 127 tips focusing on IEPs and inclusion processes. Chapters include Getting Prepared for the IEP Meeting, Ensuring Access to the General Curriculum, and Friendships.

Falvey, Mary. Believe in My Child with Special Needs! Helping Children Achieve Their Potential in School. Brookes Publishing. 2005.

Helping parents become better advocates for their child’s education with information about modifying curriculum, strategies for facilitating friendships, and creative problem solving. 800-638-3775;

Gartner, Alan and Dorothy Kerzner Lipsky. Inclusion: A Service Not A Place, A Whole School Approach. Port Chester, NY: Dude Publishing. 2002.

A “how-to” guide for general and special education teachers who want to make their schools a welcoming and inclusive place for all students. 800-453-7461;

Horstmeier, DeAnna. Teaching Math to People with Down Syndrome and Other Hands-On Learners. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2004.

A guide to teaching meaningful math skills by capitalizing on visual learning styles. Covers introductory math skills, but may also help older students who struggle with math concepts. 800-843-7323;

Oelwein, Patricia. Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1995.

This step-by-step guide to reading allows parents to work with their child at home and helps them coordinate reading lessons with teachers. 800-843-7323;

Wright, Peter W. D. and Pamela Darr Wright. From Emotions to Advocacy—The Special Education Survival Guide, 2nd Edition. Hartfield, VA. 2006.

Includes hundreds of strategies, tips, references, and internet resources to help parents understand the special education system. Reflects most recent changes to IDEA 2004 and NCLB Act.


Plucker, Sheri. Me, Hailey. Hollidaysburg, PA. Jason and Nordic Publishers. 2005.

Hailey and her first day of kindergarten will help introduce children to some ideas of what it means to have Down syndrome. While acknowledging differences, Hailey is positively portrayed as competent and capable.

Rheingrover, Jean Sasso. Veronica’s First Year. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co. 1996.

Nathan awaits the arrival of his new baby sister, Veronica, and becomes concerned about Veronica when his parents explain she is “special”. 800-255-7675.

Rickert, Janet Elizabeth. Russ and the Apple Tree Surprise. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1999.

A day in the life of Russ, who happens to have Down syndrome. 800-843-7323; . (other titles in this series are: Russ and the Firehouse and Russ and the Almost Perfect Day.)

Shriver, Maria. What’s Wrong with Timmy? New York: Little Brown. 2001.

A mother helps her daughter understand that a child who looks or acts differently, is much more like her, than different.

Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie. We’ll Paint The Octopus Red. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1998.

A simple repetitive story told with warmth and directness puts young siblings’ minds at ease, and helps them develop a positive outlook for their brother or sister with Down syndrome. 800-843-7323;

Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie. My Best Worst Brother. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2005.

A sequel to We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, this book focuses on the sibling relationship, three years after Isaac is born. The family is learning sign language to help with communication. 800-843-7323;

Woloson, Eliza. My Friend Isabelle. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2003.

Isabelle and Charlie are friends who don’t have to be just alike to enjoy being with each other. Isabelle has Down syndrome, Charlie does not. 800-843-7323;


Burke, Chris and Jo Beth McDaniel. A Special Kind of Hero: Chris Burke’s Own Story. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell. 1991.

The star of the T.V. show, "Life Goes On" tells his remarkable story and the pursuit of his “impossible dreams”.

Kingsley, Jason and Mitchell Levitz. Count Us In: Growing Up with Down Syndrome. New York: Harcourt Brace. 1994.

A unique and powerful conversational-style account of their lives, by two young men with Down syndrome. 212-592-1000;

Josephson, Gretchen with Lula O. Lubchenco and Allen C. Crocker (Eds.). Bus Girl: Poems by Gretchen Josephson. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. 1997.

Written over the course of several decades, this is a thought-provoking, often humorous, collection of poems from a woman born with Down syndrome. 800-666-2665;

Perske, Robert. Circles of Friends: People with Disabilities and Their Friends Enrich the Lives of One Another. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 1988.

A collection of inspiring stories. 800-251-3320;

Perske, Robert. Show Me No Mercy. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 1984.

A fast-paced story of a father and his son with Down syndrome, who overcome nearly impossible obstacles to be reunited. 800-251-3320;


McHugh, Mary. Special Siblings: Growing Up With Someone With a Disability. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing. 2002.

Reflections on her own life growing up with a brother with cerebral palsy and mental retardation, the author also interviews more than one hundred other siblings of individuals with special needs. 800-638-3775;

Meyer, Donald. Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up With a Brother or Sister with Special Needs. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 1997.

A collection of essays by children and young adults who have a sibling with special needs. 800-843-7323;

Meyer, Donald and Patricia Vadasy. Living with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs: A Book for Sibs. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1996.

Discusses specific disabilities in easy to understand terms, and the intense emotions brothers and sisters experience. 800-441-4115;

Meyer, Donald. (Ed.) The Sibling Slam Book: What it’s REALLY Like to Have a Brother or Sister with Special Needs. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. 2005.

The thoughts and feelings of eighty teen siblings from around the world, in the answers to 54 posed questions. 800-843-7323;


Discovery: Pathways to Better Speech for Children with Down Syndrome. 2005. Run time 81 minutes.

An overview of language development in children with Down syndrome, age two and up. Directed by Will Schermerhorn, Blueberry Shoes Productions, LLC. 703-338-1776.

Down Syndrome, The First 18 Months. 2003. Featuring interviews with international experts on Down syndrome. Run time 108 minutes.

Directed by Will Schermerhorn, Blueberry Shoes Productions, LLC. 703-338-1776.

Journey of a Lifetime.... Beginning with the End in Mind. 1998.

Hosted by Karen Gaffney, this video emphasizes the importance of early intervention. Includes discussions with professionals and family members. Run time 1 hour. The Karen Gaffney Foundation, 815 N.W. 13th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209. 503-973-5130.