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.
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.