Special Needs & Disabilities
Find Focus on the Family broadcasts, best-in-class books,
referral recommendations, and more.
Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Alan Rosenblatt
“Expert Guidance From the American Academy of Pediatrics”
A Caregiver’s Survival Guide by Kay Marshall Strom
“How to Stay Healthy When Your Loved One Is Sick”
Bible Promises for Parents of Children With Special Needs by Amy Mason
“Hidden within the pages of Scripture are beautiful stories of people with special needs… These stories offer hope because God notices and pursues you and your child too, and he walks with you on this awesome adventure.”
Dancing With Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free by Emily Colson Boehme with Chuck Colson
This is the true story of Emily’s autistic son, Max, and the battles they’ve fought to win unexpected joy. Emily and her father, Chuck, share their discovery that Max’s disability reveals who they are—far more than it defines who he is.
Different by Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson
“The Story of an Outside-the Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him”
Empowering Your Child Who Has Special Needs by Debbie Salter Goodwin
Find encouragement and strategies to help you and your child build a life rooted in God’s truth, joy, and love.
I Am Potential by Patrick Henry Hughes (not currently available through Focus on the Family)
Born with a rare genetic disorder that left him blind and physically disabled, Hughes was also blessed with musical talent. Now a nationally known pianist, singer, and trumpeter who has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and the Kennedy Center, he recounts the lessons at the heart of his faith and success.
In Capable Arms by Sarah Kovac (not currently available through Focus on the Family)
“Living a Life Embraced by Grace”
In Jesse’s Shoes by Beverly Lewis (fiction)
In this sensitive story, Jesse’s sister struggles to understand her brother—and the kids who make fun of him. This book will encourage families to appreciate and befriend children with special needs.
Joni & Ken by Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada
“An Untold Love Story”
Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice by Kristen Anderson
Recounting her miraculous survival of a suicide attempt, Anderson shares how her faith in God helped her overcome severe depression and shame, as well as the challenges of permanent physical disability.
The Long Awakening by Lindsey O’Connor (not currently available through Focus on the Family)
Due to complications during childbirth, O’Connor was placed in a medically induced coma for 47 days. Her memoir shares what her family endured and her own difficult journey of healing.
The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz
“Recognizing and Coping With Sensory Processing Disorder”
A Place of Healing: Wrestling With the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty by Joni Eareckson Tada
For more than forty years, Tada has been confined to a wheelchair as the result of a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic. Here she shares her ongoing struggle with physical pain and the mystery of suffering in light of a God who heals.
Ruthless by Bo Stern
“Knowing the God Who Fights for You”
Still I Will Praise by Renée Bondi
Bondi, a quadriplegic, shares stories from others who have journeyed through heartrending circumstances, relying on God for strength, hope, and a renewed perspective of His love.
Understanding and Loving a Person With Attention Deficit Disorder by Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed., and Timothy Smith, M.Ed.
“Biblical and Practical Wisdom to Build Empathy, Preserve Boundaries, and Show Compassion”
When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story
“Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without”
When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson
Encountering difficulties in life can challenge our faith in God—and when questions are left unanswered, we may feel that God has abandoned us. This book speaks to those who have been left confused and disillusioned by life’s problems.
Your 100-Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God by John Snyder
What does persistent, humble prayer look like?
Communicating Without Words (Rhea Zakich)
When her doctor told her she wouldn’t be able to speak for several months because of a throat condition, Zakich faced unexpected emotional and spiritual struggles. Here she shares the important lessons she learned about true communication.
Cultivating Joy in Family Life (Jeremy, Kimberly, Kayla, and Josh Woodhouse)
The Woodhouse family describes daughter Kayla’s struggle with a rare nerve disorder and explains how they’ve learned to trust God and cultivate joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Dealing With a Disability in Marriage (Ken Tada and Joni Eareckson Tada)
Every marriage has trials, but when disability is added to the mix, faith and commitment are tested to the core. The Tadas share about the joys and struggles during their more than 30 years of marriage as they’ve looked to the Lord for strength in the midst of Joni’s quadriplegia and breast cancer.
Embracing Your Child’s Differences (Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson)
Mother and son describe the strained relationship they had when Nathan was diagnosed as a teen with OCD and ADHD. Our role as parents is to help our child discover their God-given talents and rely on God’s strength.
Finding Unexpected Blessings in Marriage (Martin and Laura Elvington, aka Laura Story)
Laura and Martin discuss how God strengthened their faith and relationship after Martin was diagnosed with a brain tumor early in their marriage.
Finding Your True Potential in Life (Patrick Henry Hughes, Patrick John Hughes)
Born with complex birth defects, Hughes shares how he’s overcome enormous obstacles. His faith, hard work, devoted parents, and passion for music helped him reach his full potential.
Glorifying God Through the Obstacles in Marriage (Mike and Renée Bondi)
The Bondis share their story of love and commitment in the midst of an inexplicable tragedy that left Renée a quadriplegic. They tell of Mike’s devotion to keep his engagement promise, their emotional journey of beginning married life with Renée in a wheelchair, and their trust in God’s sovereignty.
God’s Healing Presence in My Life (Joni Eareckson Tada)
When Tada broke her neck at 17, she was confused, angry, and bitter toward God until Christian friends helped her begin to take small steps toward faith. Here she shares stories about some of the people she’s met while ministering to those with disabilities.
I Will Never … (Jane Bateman)
Bateman shares her journey to faith; the difficulty of raising a disabled son who later died as a young man; and the ultimate glory she gives to God—who promises never to leave us, especially in our seasons of deepest despair.
Learning to Trust God Through My Disability (Adam and Sarah Kovac)
Kovac, author of In Capable Arms, shares about being born with a birth defect that left her arms and hands essentially useless at her sides. Since becoming a mom, she’s learned how to find the balance between managing by herself, trusting God when she’s “not enough,” and relying on the help of others.
Living Joyously (Reverend David Ring)
Ring was born with cerebral palsy and lost both parents to cancer by the time he was 14. Feeling hopeless and unloved, Ring wanted to die, too—until he experienced the saving love of Jesus. He encourages others with the hope and truth that we can overcome life’s adversities through Christ.
Living With ADD (Ben Glenn)
As a child, Glenn felt rejection due to his dyslexia and ADD—but then he learned about God’s love and acceptance. Here he offers the encouraging reminder that, no matter what difficulties we may face, God has a wonderful plan for each of our lives.
A Man Called Norman (Mike Adkins)
Norman was a social misfit and a recluse. Virtually everybody in his small town made fun of him except his neighbor Mike. Here, Mike shares the humorous and poignant story of his efforts to befriend Norman and share the Gospel with him—and he inspires listeners to consider how they might share the love of Christ with those who seem unlovable.
More Than Meets the Eye (Joan Brock)
Within three weeks’ time, Brock inexplicably went blind—and soon after, her husband died of cancer. Here, she shares her journey through these struggles and how she has been comforted by the support of family, friends, and God.
Our Family’s Unexpected Journey (Joe and Cindy Ferrini)
The Ferrinis share their story of raising a son with cerebral palsy and mental disabilities—and how parenting Joey has strengthened their faith, their marriage, and their family.
Overcoming Adversity (Dan Miller)
Miller’s dreams for the future were shattered when poliomyelitis left him paralyzed within a week. He regained partial use of his left arm and learned to walk with intense physical therapy and surgery. He became a P.E. teacher and elementary principal, played golf and basketball, learned to pilot a plane, and played the guitar in a band. He reminds listeners that joy is a choice and that we must be persistent in reaching for our goals—and he encourages teachers to take advantage of the opportunities they have to influence students to reach for their dreams.
Overcoming the Obstacles of Cerebral Palsy (Dr. Tyler Sexton, Mrs. Lisa Sexton, Dr. Jared Pingleton)
- Day One: Born at 28 weeks, Tyler wasn’t given long to live. He survived—only to be diagnosed at 18 months with cerebral palsy. Mother and son, Lisa and Tyler, share about parenting a child with special needs and the wonderful work of God in Tyler’s life to overcome obstacles and eventually become a medical doctor.
- Day Two: The Sextons’ story continues with additional emphasis on how Lisa and her husband found creative ways to deal with Tyler’s “Why me?” questions, how they balanced their marriage and another child, and how they learned to trust in God.
- Day Three: Lisa is joined by Dr. Jared Pingleton as they discuss the effects of traumatic events. Lisa suffered debilitating depression, which led to a suicide attempt. And Jared’s family experienced turmoil surrounding their son’s diagnosis of leukemia and difficult treatment.
The Power of Persistent Prayer (Dr. John Snyder)
Snyder shares about a vision problem that has limited his activities for the past 40 years—and has helped him grow in faith. Whether God’s answer to our prayer is yes, no, or wait, be encouraged by the truth that He knows what’s best for us.
Raising and Reaching the Deaf for Christ (Marshall Lawrence)
Lawrence describes how he adjusted to his daughter’s hearing impairment, why the Church has difficulty reaching the deaf community, and the rift that can develop in families when a child suffers from hearing loss.
Seeing God Through My Son’s Autism (Emily Colson)
Colson explains how her view of God has changed through years of struggling to raise an autistic son as a single parent. “God doesn’t want Max to be ‘normal’; He wants him to be more like Jesus.”
Shining a Positive Light on Down Syndrome (Robert Hendershot)
Hendershot shares the amazing impact individuals with Down syndrome can have on the world. He highlights the inspiring story of his son Trevor, a team store greeter for the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks.
Special Needs Children: How the Church Can Help (Dr. Lon and Mrs. Brenda Solomon)
Parenting a child with special needs can either tear a family apart or bring it closer together. For the Solomons, coming to terms with their daughter’s disabilities and surrendering their situation to God improved their parenting.
Staying Together When Tragedy Strikes Your Marriage (Jay and Katherine Wolf)
The Wolfs describe how God’s grace has sustained their marriage and family since Katherine suffered a massive, debilitating brainstem stroke in 2008.
Surviving a Coma: My Miraculous Awakening (Tim and Lindsey O’Connor)
Tim and Lindsey describe the trauma and recovery Lindsey experienced from a post-birth complication where she nearly bled to death and was in a medically-induced coma for about 2 months—a coma she wasn’t expected to survive.
The Unexpected Joys of Raising an Autistic Child (Chuck Colson, Emily Colson)
Chuck and daughter Emily discuss Emily’s book, Dancing With Max: A Mother Who Broke Free, about raising her autistic son. She determined that, with God’s help, she and Max would live each day with joy—even in moments of struggle and uncertainty.
The Value of a Life Worth Living (Joni Eareckson Tada)
Joni shares the story of Kim, a young woman who had Lou Gehrig’s disease and wrestled with end-of-life questions. Joni recounts her encouragement that Kim seek God’s wisdom in living her remaining days in a way that would count for eternity.
When God Allows Suffering (Joni Eareckson Tada)
Joni candidly explores the question of why God allows pain and suffering, and she encourages listeners to persevere in trusting Him. She also shares the issues Ken has experienced as the husband of a quadriplegic.
Focus on the Family Counseling Consultation Line
If you need someone to talk to, Focus on the Family offers a free phone counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. Call 1-855-771-HELP (4357), Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM (MT).
Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselor Network
Search for licensed Christian counselors in your area.
The Autism Society of America
This organization provides parents, professionals, and the general public with information and referrals about autism.
Bibles for the Blind & Visually Handicapped International
This group provides Bibles in Braille free of charge to those who qualify. They also offer Braille tracts and a daily devotional guide for the deaf or visually impaired.
Blind Children’s Center
This organization works primarily with blind children from birth through elementary school.
This group reaches out to disabled children and teens.
CARE is dedicated to linking blind and disabled people with existing community resources. They also provide training and technical assistance to churches.
CHASK’s mission is to find Christian homes for children with special needs.
Established to train workers to bring the Gospel to those who are deaf, this organization offers Bible camps and college extension classes.
Endurance (Jan and Dave Dravecky)
Endurance ministers to suffering people—especially those who have experienced cancer, amputation, and depression. They offer resources for encouragement, comfort, and hope through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Inspiration Ministries (Christian League for the Handicapped)
This is a residential community and respite care provider for adults with disabilities. Their work center, resale shop, special events, and volunteer opportunities give people with disabilities a chance to build friendships and serve the community.
JAF Ministries (Joni and Friends) (Joni Eareckson Tada)
This Christian ministry unites disabled people and local congregations through evangelism and service. Resources and referrals for families with disabled members are available, as well as a deaf ministries outreach.
NATHHAN encourages homeschool families with special needs children through numerous resources.
National Association for Down Syndrome
This group offers resources, conferences, and an online discussion forum about Down syndrome. They also provide individualized services specifically for the Chicago metropolitan area.
National Captioning Institute
This secular group provides information about tele-caption decoders, which pick up closed captioned messages for the hearing impaired on videos and television.
National Federation of the Blind
This national group helps integrate the blind into society by removing legal, economic, and social discrimination—and by educating the public.
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Through a national network of cooperating libraries, the National Library Service administers a free library program of Braille and audio materials.
Shepherds Ministries is a faith-based residential, vocational, and educational facility for adults with intellectual disabilities.
Shepherds College is an accredited, faith-based, three-year post-secondary school for young adults with intellectual disabilities.
Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries
This group provides resources to bring spiritual healing to deaf and hard-of-hearing people and their families.
The Stuttering Foundation of America
This organization is dedicated to preventing and treating stuttering.
Tourette Syndrome Association
This national organization educates patients and their families about Tourette Syndrome and provides support groups.
Triangle Cross Ranch
This residential community provides “excellence in assisted living/respite care for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.”
Referrals to secular organizations dealing with specialized areas of knowledge shouldn’t be read as an indication that their stances necessarily align with Focus on the Family’s perspective in all areas.