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Learning Disabilities
A to Z

By
Corrine Smith and Lisa Strick

Learning Disabilities A to Z
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Reviewer: Allison Martin

Learning Disabilities: A to Z by Corinne Smith and Lisa Strick is subtitled "A Parent's Complete Guide to Learning Disabilities From Preschool to Adulthood." This book provides a comprehensive discussion of learning disabilities in children. Parents will find this book almost essential for the education of their child who has learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A to Z covers the ramifications of coping with learning disabilities at home and in the classroom, along excellent suggestions on how to manage both situations. One of the most valuable aspects of the book is the emphasis on the "whole child" and suggestions for raising children with their self esteem and self control intact.

While parents will want to supplement this book with information on the specific learning disabilities (reading, math, etc.), tit is wonderful for your day to day struggles with school and at home. While much of the discussion and guidance in the LD is cautionary, the overall tone is very optimistic and uplifting. One third of this lengthy book is devoted to quality of life.

Topics include: identification of learning disabilities and testing, record keeping, social and emotional growth, and strategies for promoting personal success. The ages covered are elementary school and through high school, although some parents of preschoolers may find it useful to start implementing these strategies for life long success early on.

Two example quotes from the book:

Elementary school-aged youngsters do test the rules. Since most do not yet reason logically, concrete rewards and consequences remain the best means of modifying their behavior. When it is necessary to discipline children, an explanation of the punishment is appropriate (even if they do not fully understand your judgment, children need to know that you have a reason for what you are doing and are not acting on a whim). You can spare them lengthy analyses and philosophical observations, however - short and to the point works best. At any state of development, it is important to distinguish between criticizing a child's behavior and criticizing the child. Criticizing behavior ("Hitting is not all right. Hitting hurts people!") establishes boundaries, but criticizing or shaming the child ("You bad boy! Why are you so mean?") is a form of character assassination that can leave lasting scars.

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Reward direction, not perfection. Children with learning disabilities are often frustrated by their own inability to achieve perfect results. Help them see that progress - not perfection - is the point. When children do a job partly right, praise what was done well before showing them what was overlooked. Children who understand that they are getting somewhere are far less likely to get fed up and quit..

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