Skip to main content

August 9, 2021

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, the LuMind IDSC community is happy to share a curated list of books recommended by medical experts, caregivers, and Woodbine House, a publisher of books geared toward the disability community. Here is a collection of ten helpful guides and inspirational memoirs that can benefit any parent or caregiver overseeing an individual with Down syndrome.

From the expertise of professionals in the fields of motor skills, speech, and mental and physical health, to touching memoirs written by parents who have lived through the experience of sharing a life with a child or adult with Down syndrome, these books are not ranked, they are organized from birth into adulthood. We hope that you will find them to be useful resources.

You can find these books at your local bookstore, or online. Let us know how you like them!


ds parenting 101Down Syndrome Parenting 101 Must-Have Advice for Making Your Life Easier

By Natalie Hale

2012 Readers’ Choice Awards Winner: Favorite New Special-Needs Parenting Book

An insightful resource for parents, caretakers or anyone who shares a life with a person with Down syndrome. Natalie Hale walks the reader through various life stages in a book full of personal accounts as a parent of a now adult son with Down syndrome.


the shape of the eyeThe shape of the Eye: A Memoir

By George Estreich

A moving memoir, George Estreich, a poet and stay-at-home dad, he tells the story of his family as his younger daughter is diagnosed with Down syndrome. At first, confused by the shape of her eyes and her Japanese heritage, this book is an insightful and beautifully written portrayal of how a family transcended from their struggles, misunderstandings, and their journey to embracing their young daughter in all her power.


raising henryRaising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery

By Rachel Adams

In this thought-provoking memoir, Rachel Adams shares the story how in a moment her life changed from being the idealized picture-perfect family to her experience as the mother of her second son Henry, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Her narrative is honest and self-critical and an insightful exploration of today’s intricacies of social prejudice, disability policy, genetics, prenatal testing, medical training, and inclusive education.


gross motor skillsGross Motor Skills for Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals

By Patricia C. Winders, P.T.

An essential resource for parents and caregivers of children with Down syndrome, this second edition has been thoroughly updated. A collection of 400 photos that show step-by-step instructions to help assess a child’s gross motor readiness this guide will also help parents teach their children skills from basic head control and crawling to riding a bicycle. This guide comprises a wealth of information designed to help parents and children to achieve a healthier lifestyle.


fine motor skillsFine Motor Skills for Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals

By Maryanne Bruni BScOT (Reg)

In a revised third edition, this popular book authored by an occupational therapist and parent of an adult with Down syndrome presents a step-by-step guide to activities that will help progress fine motor development from infancy through adulthood. She is now volunteer Board President of West Toronto KEYS to Inclusion, a non-profit organization promoting inclusive opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities.


early communication skills for children with dsEarly Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome

By Libby Kumin, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

An updated and revised version of the highly respected companion to parents and caretakers of loved ones with Down syndrome. The author, Libby Kumin a professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology at Loyola University in Maryland where she founded the Down Syndrome Speech and Language Center for Excellence. She has over thirty years of experience working with children and adolescents with Down syndrome and their families. Using her vast experience, Dr. Kumin shows parents how they can support and encourage their child’s speech and language development working through characteristic challenges, including hearing loss, intelligibility issues, apraxia or a slower pace of development.


suppoting positive behavior in children and teens with dsSupporting Positive Behavior in Children and Teens with Down Syndrome: The Respond but Don’t React Method

By David Stein, Psy.D.

Dr. David Stein is the founder of New England Neurodevelopment, LLC, in Concord, MA

In this book, Dr. Stein examines how the brain of a person with Down syndrome works, and how that impacts behavior, and why bad behavior should not be viewed as an intentional act. Prepared with this new knowledge, parents are in a better position to form strategies of proactive interventions to avoid negative behaviors using guiding principles such as: be proactive, not reactive, be consistent, learn effective disciplinary techniques, know when professional help is needed.


boyfriends and girlfriendsBoyfriends & Girlfriends: A Guide to Dating for People with Disabilities

By Terri Couwenhoven M.S.

At some point in our lives, we all feel the butterflies in our stomachs, and for everyone, dating can be intimidating. In her new book written for adults and teens with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Terri Couwenhoven, a puberty and sexuality expert for people with intellectual disabilities explains the do’s and don’ts of this new stage of life.

Written at a reading level to enable teens and adults to read the books themselves, the book answers important questions such as: How to read signals, how to ask someone out on a date, how to handle rejection and relationship advice.


guide to good healthThe Guide to Good Health for Teens & Adults with Down Syndrome

By Brian Chicoine, M.D. and Dennis McGuire, Ph.D.

Brian Chicoine, M.D., is the Medical Director of the Adult Down Syndrome Center of Lutheran General Hospital in suburban Chicago.

Dennis McGuire, Ph.D., is the Director of Psychosocial Services for the Adult Down Syndrome Center. Together they founded The Center in 1992 and have served more than 4,000 adults with Down syndrome since its inception.

A must-have for parents and caretakers of adolescents and adults with Down syndrome. Drs. Chicoine and McGuire provide crucial information into the health and common health issues that might affect individuals with Down syndrome. They also discuss how to promote a healthy lifestyle to prevent problems, and how to recognize the signals early on to ensure the best outcome.


mental wellness in adults with dsMental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome, A Guide to Emotional and Behavioral Strengths and Challenges

By Dennis McGuire, Ph.D. & Brian Chicoine, M.D.

Awards for the First Edition: 2007 Independent Publisher Award: Bronze Medalist in Psychology/Mental Health Category, 2006 Best Books Book Awards, Psychology/Mental Health Finalist, 2006 ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award: Finalist in Psychology Category

Another important book that every parent or caregiver of adult individuals with Down syndrome should have in their library. Dr. Chicoine and Dr. McGuire joined forces once more in this installment that deals with the psychological issues and mental disorders that can affect people with Down syndrome. A helpful guide with invaluable information that can help parents distinguish behaviors that are common traits of Down syndrome from challenging behaviors that should require professional guidance.

Did you know you can read Down syndrome content written by professionals without making a trip to the digital or physical bookstore? myDSC has over 450 resources on a wide variety of subjects, from health and wellness to independence, and you can access them all by starting a free membership. Visit to get started.