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My Invisible World: Life With My Brother, His Disability and His Service Dog Paperback – January 24, 2012
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About the Author
Morasha’s life in the United States began at 14 months when she was adopted from Russia by her parents, Donnie and Rabbi Harvey Winokur. As a toddler, Morasha created elaborate stories about her “former” life in Russia setting the stage for developing a vivid imagination and irresistible style of expression. At eleven years old, Morasha is in sixth grade at a public school in Roswell, Georgia. She lives with her parents, her brother, Iyal, his service dog, Chancer and two cats, Manhattan and Eilat.
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First, these are my daughter's thoughts, typed exactly as she has given them to me:
"I really loved the book!!! It was really good because I could compare to her and I could relate to her a lot. And she seems really nice because she understands her brother like me, and she doesn't get as much attention and she's sad about it like me. It's a good book for other people who have siblings with disabilities. I suggest it to parents who have kids with disabilities who have siblings so they can understand how the siblings of the kid with disabilities feel."
As her mom, I think it really helped a bit that my angel is the same age Morasha was when she wrote this. Morasha speaks with maturity well beyond her years as she gives voice to some of the difficulties that can exist for siblings and families of children who have a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. As her mom, we knew about the FASD when we adopted her brother, but as we watched additional diagnoses come in one after another, as we were living with the effects of those symptoms and disabilities in our family and came to realize what the impact of these additional conditions would be, part of my heart has always hurt for the negative ways in which these things can impact a normally developing child. Namely, there is no way to make the attention balance seem equal because of the level of assistance he requires. She gets half an hour a day alone with each of her parents separately, so we do the best we can, but nothing can make it equal and that does leave an emotional mark. But I would also like to mention, that it can also promote many positives, like deep compassion for others in a wide array of disabilities and difficult circumstances, which both Morasha and my daughter exhibit.
I also really love that she does some education about not drinking at all during pregnancy. For every kiddo who has ever read this book they will now go forward with a piece of information about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy that could bless the lives of their children that they may not have had otherwise.
And, as a parent, I am so thankful Morasha took the time to give voice to her feelings. I think it has done my daughter a great deal of good to feel like there is someone out there who *does* feel like she does in many ways, even if the exact list of conditions and symptoms isn't entirely the same. I think when we build more on the things we *do* have in common, we can support one another in ways that can help carry us more safely across the oceans of heartache that can come from these types of invisible disabilities. And really, some of the things Iyal struggles with can be experienced by children with Autism or other neurological disorders as well, so I think it could even be a very helpful read for a sibling of a kiddo with *any* type of disability. We loved this book and in this house, this is a daughter and mother highly recommended book.
There are plenty of "That's not fair" times for Morasha, but also amazing amounts of family love, insight, and support. And an FASD service dog named Chancer for Iyal. With Chancer, Morasha says, she has a chance for a life of her own.
Read this book and I guarantee you'll never think the same about the outcome of drinking while pregnant. But it's much more. It's an opportunity to meet a delightful family that advocates for children with FASD.
Morasha's book is the "must have" of the 2009 holiday season and the coming year. A perfect gift, regardless of whether the reader has family or friends with special needs.