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From Grief to Celebration, How One Family Learned to Embrace the Gift of Down Syndrome Paperback – December 20, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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About the Author

Margaret Bender teaches linguistic and cultural anthropology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: The Extraordinary Girl (December 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615429785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615429786
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,149,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book, From Grief to Celebration: How One Family Learned to Embrace the Gift of Down Syndrome. It is extraordinarily well written from the heart of a mother with three children, including one who happens to have an extra chromosome.

The child--who is actually now a young woman--is named Alex. And through the pages of this book you'll fall in love with her. But I think even more, you'll fall in love with the author, Margaret "Gary" Bender. In these pages, Gary bares her soul. She shares every painful, joyful and revolutionary moment of her experience as a parent, and she does so not only out of love for Alex--and her family--but also out of what appears to be a need to advocate for all parents who have children with special needs.

This book must be added to the bibliography Gary provides in the chapter titled "Research," which includes a list of books she sought and read when Alex was born in 1993. If you indeed have a baby with Down syndrome, please put Gary's book at the top of your list. You will learn many things, but you will especially know that you are not alone; you will learn how to advocate; and you will learn to embrace and celebrate your child/situation. And as any parent will tell you, just like kids without special needs, our babies grow up very quickly. You will learn your Down syndrome child might not do everything like walk and talk and potty train according to what you thought was normal, but she/he will learn. And she/he will also teach YOU things you never imagined.

What makes this book additionally noteworthy for parents with and without children of special needs, is that Gary allows us to see how universal the experience of parenting truly is.
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Format: Paperback
This book details a family's struggles, acceptance, and joy with raising a child with Down Syndrome. It is very moving and shows great caring and inner strength to do what is good and right for this child and her siblings at the same time and teach them the love that the author has inside of her. It is a testament to good child rearing to accept and devote their energies to making sure that this child feels loved and cared for by everyone in her family and extended family. It made me cry for the attention and energy spent to accept and not discard this child because of her differences, and of the way this family has taught others to learn to celebrate differences and love people for them.
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Format: Paperback
I don't know what was in your Down syndrome packet after you connected with your local organization - and I don't know what your initial reading list was. But I'll tell you this: in my packet was "The Light at the End of the Tunnel" - hello there, death! - and on my bookshelf were real winners that depressed the dickens out of me - like Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents' Guide.

I read tomes about parents dealing - their stories of learning to accept and love their children, but in all honesty, I think when you are faced with the knowledge that your unborn child will be coming with an extra chromosome, it's enough to just grapple with all the prejudice and stereotypes out there regarding Down syndrome. It's hard to really, truly handle and relate to many of the memoirs - those have a better time and place later, in my opinion.

Margaret "Gary" Bender (- yes, she is a woman and her nickname is "Gary"!) wrote a gem of a slim book about how her family learned to embrace Down syndrome. She divided the book into 10 chapters - with a bonus one! - and folded each of the chapters into a verb that related to her path of 'grief to acceptance'. They are short. They are easy to read. They are, in my opinion, bite-sized, perfect for a new parent, or one who is just entering the world of parenting a child with Down syndrome.

The chapters and topics covered are flexible in that they are not too specific nor too broad. As they speak from the mother of a teenager with Down syndrome - rather than a young child - there is a ring of assurance, confidence and positivity that can only be gained from years of actual experience. While there is an awful lot of material from parents of young children with Down syndrome, there is remarkably little from parents of older teens.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Margaret Bender took on the difficult challenge to put into words the day to day struggles and the "big picture" fears that parents of children with special needs face. From Grief to Celebration is a memoir/autobiography that reads more like a friendly "how-to" manual of parenting a child with Down syndrome. However, Bender achieves this without being preachy or angry. No, instead she gives the readers small bites of advocacy and advice on raising awareness in each community.

Parents of young children with Down syndrome will most benefit from Bender's accessible story of her family's journey. This book is short (90 pages) and is broken into logical, easy to digest sections. Her honest appraisal of Alex's strengths and quirks, and her hopes for Alex's future are the threads that all weave together to form their journey to Celebration.

As a follower of Bender's blog [...] I appreciated the backstory, now that Alex has left home to attend a transitional college.

Above all, Bender's story shows the world that people with Down syndrome are as unique from each other as we all are, but when it comes to following your dreams and wanting a full life, well there we are all more same than different.
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