Book Review -- Families, Disability, and Empowerment Edited by George H. S. Singer and Laurie E. Powers

Article excerpt

The word empowerment in the helping professions is overused, misused, and frequently abused. Consequently, when I received a copy of Families, Disability, and Empowerment: Active Coping Skills and Strategies for Family Interventions, I was skeptical. In this compilation of 14 chapters, however, Singer and Powers translate empowerment from an abstract concept into its practical applications. The book is a comprehensive and informative collection reviewing the history, philosophy, and evaluation of family support systems. The papers highlight the resiliency of families that are experiencing crisis and adapting to change.

The range and richness of the material it draws upon is an obvious strength of the book. The sources were collected from a variety of fields and disciplines. Interspersed between the chapters written by professionals are four personal accounts by family members. The family members express their feelings and thoughts surrounding the birth of a child with disabilities. The inclusion of the personal accounts by parents lends credibility to the book's emphasis on the importance of family-driven goals, objectives, and outcomes.

Historically, the professional literature has primarily emphasized the trauma and tragedy of living with a child who has disabilities. …