Book Review: In the Company of Angels

When Pamela Jean Lyman could not find the book she needed for education and support in parenting her child with special needs, she decided to write one herself.

Book Review Adult Nonfiction In the Company of Angels by Pam Jean LymanLyman’s son, Conrad, has a rare, severe genetic-based neurological disorder called Angelman Syndrome (or AS). Lyman’s In the Company of Angels is a collection of stories – including her own – about living with, caring for, and loving someone with AS.

Lyman opens the book with a brief description of Angelman Syndrome, taken from

[Angelman Syndrome is] characterized by profound developmental delays, problems with motor coordination (ataxia) and balance, and epilepsy. Individuals with AS do not develop functional speech. The seizure disorder in individuals with Angelman Syndrome can be difficult to treat. Feeding disorders in infancy are common, and some persist throughout childhood. Sleeping difficulties are commonly noted in individuals with Angelman Syndrome. AS affects all races and both genders equally.

Individuals with Angelman Syndrome tend to have a happy demeanor, characterized by frequent laughing, smiling and excitability. Many individuals with Angelman Syndrome are attracted to water and take great pleasure in activities like swimming and bathing.

The diagnosis of Angelman Syndrome can be a crushing blow for many parents, as was expressed by those who shared their stories in In the Company of Angels. Though AS is not terminal, children with the syndrome will require “life-long care, intense therapies to help develop functional skills and improve their quality of life, and close medical supervision often involving multiple medical interventions.” Many of the parents in this book detail a grieving process they had to move through in receiving and ultimately accepting the news of their child’s special needs.

But in addition to the honesty shared by these parents in their struggles, In the Company of Angels is also a hopeful look at the joys that come from parenting Angel children who also tend to have an incredibly joyful spirit, and an ability to share that with others. Every parents’ experience is different in this book, but all ultimately testify of how much they and their family (and in some cases, community) have learned and grown because of their loved ones with Angelman Syndrome.

I can only imagine the inspiration and support In the Company of Angels offers to families dealing with Angelman Syndrome. And although I do not have a child with special needs, it’s books like In the Company of Angels that help me to have more understanding – and more compassion – for families who deal with these kinds of challenges and blessings every day.

To learn more about Pamela Jean Lyman and In the Company of Angels:


*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in order to facilitate the review. No other compensation was received. I should also mention that I know the author and her family personally. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

*Affiliate links included.