Ability Awareness
About Us
Adult Programs
Adult Resources
Advisory Board
Annual Sponsorship Opportunities
Augmentative Alternative Communication
Augmentative Alternative Communication
Become a Member
Best Buddies
Board of Directors
Communication Readiness Program
Community Events
Community Impact Nomination
Connection Groups
Connection Groups
Donate Your Car
DSEA Resources
Dual Diagnosis: Down Syndrome and Autism
Expectant Parent Resources
For Medical Professionals
For Our Families
Get Involved
Home Activities
IEP Tools
In the News
Inclusion Resources
Join Our Team
Join the Board
Kiwanis Aktion Club
Leadership Team
Matching Gifts
Medical Outreach
Mental Health & Wellness Alliance (MHWA)
Music Therapy
New & Expectant Parents
Newsletter Archive
Nonprofit Documents
Other Ways to Give
Our Impact
Our Testimonials
Research & Clinical Trials
Resource Directory
Site Map
Speech Services
Spring Gala
Step Up Walk
T21 Fun Run
Tell Your Story
THRIVE Classes
Virtual Programs
Webinars & Workshops
Webinars & Workshops
Webinars & Workshops
Webinars & Workshops
Welcome Basket Request



Connection Blog 

Book Review: Life with Charley

Cathleen Small

August 24, 2016

A book review from Cathleen Small on Life with Charley. This book is available in our Lending Library.

I recently had the chance to read a memoir of raising a child with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism: Life with Charley, by Sherry Palmer.

This was a fun read for me because Charley is an adult, and I love getting a glimpse into possible bits of our future with Sam. I know some parents of young children with Down syndrome prefer not to get that glimpse into the future, and I can certainly understand that—but for me, I enjoy seeing what life may bring in the future as we continue to watch Sam grow.

What I found in reading this book was that Charley is a total hoot! I found myself laughing out loud at many parts. The book doesn’t have a rigid structure as it follows the story of his parents adopting him and then raising him. Rather, it’s a series of stories of life with Charley—whatever his mother, Sherry, felt like sharing. Which sounds rather scattered when I type it, but really, it works for the book. It feels like a fun little romp through life with Charley.

One interesting thing about this book that’s a bit different from some other memoirs is that Charley’s parents are a pastor and his wife, so you get a look at what it’s like for a family heavily involved in the church to raise a son with special needs. The book isn’t heavily church-focused—it’s certainly not off-putting to people who aren’t involved in the church—but I personally found it fascinating to see when and where the family found acceptance…and when and where they experienced discrimination because of their son.

This is an uplifting book in general. Certainly, there are hard parts discussed. Charley is an eloper, for example—he wanders off, and on more than one occasion he is returned to his parents by the police. That’s a scary thing for parents of children with special needs to consider, but it’s a reality for many. But through it all, Sherry Palmer’s love and pride for her son shine through.

If you enjoy reading books that will give you a glimpse into life with an adult child with Down syndrome, this is a fun one.

Read more of Cathleen's writings on her blog: foursmalls.com