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From Stumbling Blocks to Stepping Stones: Help and Hope for Special Needs Kids Review by Carrie Wilbur

Shari Rusch Furnstahl, M.Ed.
A Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188

Shari Furnstahl's story, by its sheer scope and audacity, seems nearly too much to be true. Her personal experiences as a student herself and as the mother of special needs and typically developing children are compelling, to say the least. They certainly give this book the weight it needs to join the ranks of good resources for families wrestling with how to give (or get) their children what they most need to succeed.

The author's frankness, plentiful humor, and solid spirituality make this an enjoyable and inspiring read. Her straightforward discussion of resources in a "what to do and how to do it" section is to the point, moving quickly but thoroughly through a priceless chapter titled "Suggestions for Parents and Educators."

Though Mrs. Furnstahl speaks only rarely of homeschooling, her clear message is that we must do for our special needs children what they need done. I've enjoyed many quotes from throughout the book, but my favorite paragraph comes on the last page: "Some of us are going to have to abandon the traditional and the obvious to help our children. We might have to forget what is standard and try the unconventional. What needs to be remembered on this journey is that no investment of time or effort on our part is ever wasted. Some of the solutions we seek will take time and effort to find and implement. Others are right in front of us. Even when we don't know what to do, we can cling to hope and the promise our prayers will be answered." This book resonated with me as a homeschooler who has only just begun to navigate the confusing world of parenting special needs children. From Stumbling Blocks to Stepping Stones has been both a welcome education and a healing balm.

Product review by Carrie Wilbur, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2008