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My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids with Disabilities
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My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids with Disabilities

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  176 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The stories in this collection provide parents of special needs kids with a dose of both laughter and reality. Featuring works by so-called alternative parents who have attempted to move away from mainstream thought, this anthology carefully considers the implications of raising children with disabilities. From professional writers to novice storytellers, including origina ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by PM Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Aug 18, 2011 Jenny rated it it was ok
Perhaps my expectations for this book were too high. Or, perhaps I just went into reading this with a different purpose than what the book is meant for. Either way, I have to say, I was sorely disappointed. I had such high hopes. I had hoped that this book would address the reality of life with special needs, but also give a figurative high five to me...a pep talk of sorts...a "hang in there because life is good" type of book. In the introduction alone, I immediately started feeling bad and over ...more
It isn't as though I needed this book. From January 2013 onward, I've been very much an advocate for my son after he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I've adopted person-first language and I get it right 98% of the time, I have a license plate border advertising the local DS association, and I upload dozens of pictures of my son so everyone can see how cute he is, because he is "more alike than different". But as I'm raising my son, I've been seeking more and more voices that "get it". There's ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Unwisely rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir, 2014
I'm not sure why this was on my to-read list; I have no kids, no particular reason. But man, it was really good. Like, I would read it while waiting for lights to change while walking to work from the bus.

It's a collection of various parents' experience parenting a variety of children with challenges both mental and physical. (Apologies if I get the terminology wrong; for a lot of this, this book was my first encounter.)

You see the heart-rending choices that come with uncertain funding; with na
Christy Stewart
The essays in this book are written by loving, imperfect, frank parents of disabled children writing on specific aspects.

If you are looking for a how-to, this isn't it.

If you are looking for a serious look at those who have disabled kids, this isn't it.

The book seems good but sort of useless unless you are just looking for a light read on disability culture.

I just read a blog about a man who, upon learning his 2 year old had a terminal illness, contemplated murdering the child and in an ironic t
Jul 05, 2010 Meghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: zines, anthology
I can't remember much about this anthology collecting personal essays written by parents of children with disabilities, but the author event held at the Olympia Timberland Library was wonderful and memorable - several writers read their essays, and there were tears while a woman read aloud an essay that in part dealt with her feelings about sending her Deaf teenage son to a Deaf boarding school. There was another emotional moment when a woman wrote about her younger son's experience realizing he ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Russell rated it it was amazing
Any book that simultaneously offends, educates, and provokes thought as effectively as this book deserves a five star rating. This is a must read for any parent of a special needs child.
Jessie Marie
Nov 02, 2013 Jessie Marie rated it it was amazing
Poignant and important and eye opening, particularly for future educators.
Elevate Difference
Feb 26, 2010 Elevate Difference rated it it was amazing

My Baby Rides the Short Bus is an anthology of articles written by parents about their firsthand experiences of raising children with disabilities. In addition to their common identity as parents of disabled children, the contributors also share another trait: all of them find themselves outside of the mainstream by virtue of identity or political perspective. Together the articles make up a lively collection of authentic voices that speak to the joys and challenges of being marginalized and/or
Dec 11, 2011 Liesel rated it really liked it
This is an anthology of experiences of non-conformist parents raising children with a disability. I throughly enjoyed reading the truths of these people's lives with their children with a disability in all of their humanity. No platitudes or glossing over things in this book. Thank you for agreeing with me that I'm not sure what country I'm in, but it sure doesn't seem like Holland! (I am the parent of three daughters, two who would be categorized by the world as "special needs.")

If you want to
Paige Wallis
Sep 27, 2011 Paige Wallis rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A fantastic book that gives real insight into the lives of families--all kinds of families--with children who have special needs. While I obviously couldn't relate 100% to each story, something in each resonated deep within me. "Dual Parentship Status" rang especially true to me even though I only have one child as of yet. I share many of the fears, concerns, hopes the writer expresses about having a second child.

Parents like us are not magically gifted with special abilities to handle every ha
an anthology of subcultural parents raising special needs children. the stories run the gamut, from adoptive parents fostering special needs children to disabled parents raising disabled children, from folks writing about their still-toddler children to parents writing about their experiencing raising children thirty or forty years ago. folks mostly contributed essays, but there are a few poems sprinkled throughout as well. not all of the parents would necessarily agree with each other about the ...more
PM Press
Oct 31, 2009 PM Press rated it it was amazing
In lives where there is a new diagnosis or drama every day, the stories in this collection provide parents of “special needs” kids with a welcome chuckle, a rock to stand on, and a moment of reality held far enough from the heart to see clearly. Featuring works by “alternative” parents who have attempted to move away from mainstream thought--or remove its influence altogether--this anthology, taken as a whole, carefully considers the implications of parenting while raising children with disabili ...more
Sep 15, 2011 Beana rated it it was ok
Very real, to the point that it's difficult to read sometimes. I know any of the parent authors would slap me and tell me that it's not nearly as difficult to read as it is to live with and care for the children they're raising, and they're right. However, instead of recommending this book to others I would give them the advice I learned from reading it: never say "I couldn't do it" to parents with "differently abled" kids because you would do it if you were in their shoes, listen to the parents ...more
Aug 10, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents, educators
Honest, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes surprisingly funny, My baby Rides the Short Bus is a collection of essays written by parents of dealing with the experience of raising kids with disabilities. The diagnosis's run the gamut, from spina bifida, to hemophilia, to autism, and to cerebral palsy.

Many of the with parents write about how they already come from a place considered counter-culture or alternative. I think whether or not they start they their many parents of special-needs kids often
Mar 15, 2010 Sha rated it it was amazing
This book is really amazing, and came at just the right time. Some very close friends of mine recently had a baby with special needs, and it's so refreshing to find a collection of writing by parents who live outside the mainstream and are grappling with the issues of relying on the health care system while fighting for a better one, how to live out our politics in new ways when unexpected challenges arise, and the gritty, messy, beautifully honest emotions that come along with loving people (wh ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents of Special Needs children
Shelves: 2011
I found myself highlighting whole paragraphs, pages - saying "Yes, Yes, Yes!"

My unique experiences, and more to the point frustrations, aggravations, obstacles are not so unique after all.

No more sappy Welcome To Holland, or What a Special Gift, or the best one -- God CHOSE You for this Blessing. Gag Me! Better yet, take my child for an entire afternoon and let me get a break (bless those few who did).

This book is real, real voices, real parents, real children with real challenges. If you are
Jan 28, 2010 Jay rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Parents of kids with disabilities, Disabled people, queer parents
As a disabled adult in queer community, I appreciate the voices of parents who are interested in creating a world where their children can grow into full participation in communities. The struggle between mainstream participation and alternative values comes through strong from the forward through the end, and is an important counter voice to many parent narratives which strive for assimilation.

The volume as a whole brings important voices to parent and disabled communities.
Useful resource list
This is an important collection from parents of kids with disabilities. It was nice to see so many queer families represented, and to have some kind of social justice analysis included. I didn't agree with all of the approaches or perspectives--there was one story in particular that i was like, woah i hope her kid never reads this--but this collection definitely fills a void and is needed. It also gave me important perspective on what my own parents' struggles may have been, and some valuable co ...more
Dec 26, 2009 Carla rated it it was amazing
What a great book. It's a must read for any parent, grandparent, or caregiver of a special needs child, or really anyone who interacts with families caring for special needs children. The short story format gives great morsels for busy readers, but I found that I could not put the book down once I got started - I just devoured it. Even though I know the community is large, I often felt alone and uncharted in our journey with our son. This book validated many of my emotions and thoughts as we bec ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it
This is a really good anthology of parents telling what life is like raising children with all types of disabilities. It's also the stories of parents who don't fit into the white middle class American mould. Even though I'm not in the demographic the compilers were originally catering to, this book had me thinking about how things are remarkably similar. This is a great book to gain an insight into what we're going through.
Nov 03, 2011 Alicindra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I am very glad I ordered this book on a whim. It was one of the best non-fiction books I've read in years. It really is absolutely fantastic. If you have any understanding of special needs kids then this book will speak to you. If you don't you need to read this book. Parents of special-needs kids are no different than anyone else and this collection of essays really brings home the stupidity of various constructs and assumptions.

May 12, 2010 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
I got to go hear Jennifer Silverman speak this weekend. Reading this book it is sinking in how much effort we should all be putting into making sure we think about inclusion of children and families with disabilities when we are planning projects.
Jan 09, 2011 Aubrey rated it really liked it
This is amazing book. I learned so much. There's a range of parenting styles and attitudes here, but all of the parents and the kids are real. (None of the fake 'God only gives us what we can handle' attitudes). There is strength, pain, weakness, and love.
Nov 02, 2010 Pam rated it really liked it
A very different book about raising kids with disabilities...not light or pretty or chicken-soupy at all. A good read for me as a teacher, to try and understand a bit better the perspective of parents navigating the world their children must inhabit.
May 12, 2010 Jen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin Fanning
Jun 02, 2010 Kevin Fanning rated it really liked it
We gave away our copy before I read the whole thing, but what I read was good and very helpful and man, some of these stories.
Oct 23, 2011 Kristi rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-spectrum
Nice to hear voices, and some appropriate swearing, that shine insight on highs/lows of raising a kid with special needs
Literary Mama
Nov 16, 2012 Literary Mama added it
Shelves: essays
Part of Literary Mama's Essential Reading list on alternative motherhood.
Andrea Givens
Feb 21, 2010 Andrea Givens rated it it was amazing
I'm a contributing author to this book.
Mar 04, 2010 Winnie rated it liked it
This was/is a comforting yet unnerving read. Lots of people in the same boat, but they are also struggling. Still, it will help me get my "game face" on before our next IEP meeting.
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Jennifer Silverman is an optimist in a pessimists clothing. She lives, writes and agitates in NYC, where she is raising two boys, one of whom is autistic. Jennifer has most recently been published in Off Our Backs and Hip Mama, but has written for a variety of parenting publications and community newspapers. She is a co-editor of the new anthology My Baby Rides the Short Bus."
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