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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • SubGenre:Parenting / Child Rearing
  • Language:English
  • Pages:204

Uncommon Voyage

Parenting Children With Special Needs - A Guidebook

by Laura Shapiro Kramer

Book Image Not Available

Laura Shapiro Kramer has turned her experience raising a special-needs child (already detailed in her successful memoir) into a guidebook for other parents.

The e-book and web site contain multiple resources and she is building a community of support through Facebook, Twitter, and at

"Throughout this new book, Kramer’s experience and empathy shine through ... This is a well-thought-out guide for parents that provides a flexible and compassionate approach to learning how best to help your child and yourself." Publishers Weekly  (Read the full review)

"The author skirts around specific conditions and labels to create a guide accessible and relevant to all. It makes numerous suggestions which will help a parent to manage themselves and their child's condition better, often small, simple things that will make the world of difference. It is also encouraging to the parent....I for one will be keeping this book close, referring to it often when I feel lost or in need of that extra bit of support. I know it will prove invaluable. I only wish I'd found it sooner. This is without a doubt the most worthwhile book I have read for years." Readers Favorite (Read the full review)


From the author:

After my memoir, Uncommon Voyage, was published, parents reached out to me for support, for direction and ideas, and for a boost. They asked me what to do, what else I knew—I never stopped learning—and I found myself explaining in more detail what I discovered for Seth, how it shaped our family, and how it shaped me.

I listened.

The more I listened, the more I learned.

What I realized was that throughout the journey, the deeper questions about life keep surfacing. Many of the questions I was asking as Seth’s mother—a parent of a special-needs child and his sibling—I was asking as a person examining her life.

In this guidebook, I consider those universal and recurring questions and weave them into a practical guide. I made this edition of Uncommon Voyage a vehicle for your story, your voyage—how you see it, tell it, and are informed by it. I lay the groundwork in a brief narrative that describes my personal journey.

I conceived the voyage in nautical terms thinking about a ship’s fulcrum—how the shifts in a family’s life are like the swinging pieces of a mobile, relocating to attain balance like a vessel rocking on the sea. As changes come along, we continually recalibrate our internal and external compasses to balance and to be able to pivot when necessary.

I developed this guidebook and organized the chapters based on the different aspects of being the parent of a special-needs child. Each chapter offers Navigation Points marked by compasses, and lighthouses illuminating Laura’s Insights.

  • Navigation Points are tasks to help you chart your course and identify what tools you have and what tools you need.
  • Laura’s Insights are comments offering support. They give context for the endeavor to help you maintain your course.

You decide how far you journey, you determine the pace, and you judge when and where you double back or venture into uncharted waters.

Within Uncommon Voyage there are an array of resources and experiments to explore. There is a suggested reading list within each chapter, and at the end of the book you will find a glossary, appendices, and additional suggested reading lists.

Additional resources, including links to websites and organizations reside on the Uncommon Voyage web site, and I invite you to join the Uncommon Voyage community through Facebook and Twitter to interact with me and with others.

I encourage you to ask questions and to share what you know. We learn from one another.

I hope there is enough here to help you feel less alone while you fight to give your child the best chance at a future of promise and discovery.

The miracles are not what you expect, but they are there.

About the author

Before becoming a mother, Laura worked in the entertainment business. She helped manage the first national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar; produced Slab Boys on Broadway with Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Val Kilmer; and developed Smashville by David Mamet for ABC. In 1979 Laura married Jay Kramer, an entertainment lawyer in New York City. Their son Seth was born in 1983, followed by daughter Haya in 1987.

The direction of Laura’s life changed when Seth was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 1984. She embarked on a journey to improve the quality of Seth’s life, plunging into a world that lacked today’s information-rich internet to get everything she could for Seth—at first within the mainstream and later in a wider world that came to include osteopathy, Feldenkrais, Iyengar yoga, and more.

In 1992 Laura wrote an article for Family Circle Magazine, "A Second Chance for Seth," detailing the maverick work she was doing with Seth. This led to an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Subsequently, Laura wrote a memoir, Uncommon Voyage: Parenting Children with Special Needs, about her experiences as Seth’s mother. The first edition was published in 1995, the paperback edition was issued in 1998, and a second edition in trade paperback was published in 2002.

Laura currently lives on Cape Cod. She was the Chair of the Board of Resources for Children with Special Needs (now includeNYC) for ten years. Laura is Founder and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York (IYAGNY) and she serves on the Advisory Board of New York City Outward Bound. Her travel articles about Iran and Tasmania appeared in The Forward. Laura was Project Director of the Albyon Project for the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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