Wednesday, May 9, 2012

3 Survival Guides for Kids with Learning Differences

If your child is a struggling reader, it’s possible he or she has been evaluated for learning disabilities (LD). It’s also possible he or she has been diagnosed with a learning disability for reading. This week I’ll talk about 3 books that look at LD quite differently. For the authors, Gary Fisher, PhD and Rhoda Cummings, EdD,
LD = Learning Differences

I recommend that we all adopt this new definition for LD because it's more accurate. We know our children have strengths. We know they can do lots of things quite well. We also know our children are struggling, for whatever reason. These books help us see the strengths, give us ways to capitalize on them, plus offer strategies to strengthen and work around the weak areas. These are all good things.

In describing the following books, I use the abbreviation LD. I mean it in both senses of the word - LD as schools use it and LD as an abbreviation for Learning Differences.

I first ran this post back in August, 2011. Reviewing it, I thought some of my newer readers might like to read it. This is basically the same post, with a few modifications.

When Your Child has LD (Learning Differences): A Survival Guide for Parents [sorry, no link available]
The first chapters include basic information for parents of kids with LD. It defines it from a school perspective, describes some possible causes, lists some early signs and explains parents' legal rights. These chapters are written clearly and give lots of information.
As important as the first chapters are, I think the later chapters are just as important. They present information about how Learning Differences affect the child, the parents and the whole family, plus give many ways to work with the school to boost success.

  The Survival Guide for Kids with LD (Learning Differences)
I see this book as having 4 major benefits:
  1. Helps struggling students know they're not alone with their struggles and that they are not dumb.
  2. Gives encouragement to seek and accept help.
  3. Gives hope.
  4. Gives strategies for successful schooling.
The print is large enough to be reader-friendly. There are frequent and helpful subtitles. Cartoons and other illustrations appear several times in each chapter. If this book appeals to you but you think it'll be a hard sell to your child, try leaving it out for a few days to see if he or she picks it up out of curiosity. That might be a way to get spark interest.

The School Survival Guide for Kids with LD (Learning Differences) [sorry, no link available]
This book was written as a response to the many letters the authors received from kids who read the first survival guide. It's broken down into 3 parts:
  1. Ways to Make School Easier and More Fun (organizational skills, learning differences, time management, time management, more...)
  2. School Tools for Learning (ways to improve reading, writing, spelling, math)
  3. Ways to Keep School Cool (school social skills)
There are recommended learning and teaching materials at the end of the book for organization skills, school skills, writing, spelling, math and social skills.

I hope at least one of these books prove helpful for you. They certainly would have been helpful to me when my son was in school and I definitely would have had them as part of the lending library in my classroom.

Please share your experiences on having a struggling student. We are in this together!

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