Archive for September, 2017

UNLOCKING THE PUZZLE

Dyspraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Dyspraxia and How to Help a Dyspraxic Child

Written by Cassandra Simmons

This book does not portend to be an authoritative guide to dyspraxia, but rather a guide to understanding the nature of dyspraxia and helping parents cope with the disorder.

What is it? Dyspraxia is a motor planning disorder labeled DCD or developmental coordination disability. It is a neurological disorder that results in an inability to plan and coordinate physical movements. Each individual presents with unique manifestations which may include slurred speech, poor social skills, and balance or posture difficulties. The disorder affects approximately six to ten percent of children, though it is more prevalent in boys. No definitive cause has been identified, but genetics, premature birth, and alcoholic mothers have possible linkages. Children diagnosed with this disorder usually require physical and occupational therapy as well as speech therapy.

I believe the most valuable parts of the book are the author’s list of symptoms for parents to look for in each age group of children. This developmental guide begins right after birth and goes up through the teen years. Parents of dyspraxic children are given the advice to follow such as making themselves knowledgeable, allowing their child to socialize and play sports, having an open ear to listen to frustrations, and teaching practical life skills. Simmons does not forget the health of the parents, reminding them to take care of themselves by getting all the help available and joining support networks.

I recommend this book to parents, teachers, and caretakers as a resource to understand why children who appear to be clumsy or speech impaired are frustrated. We need to ensure that they receive the proper treatment to lead productive lives.

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LAUGH LINES

Title: 130+ Rabbit Jokes: Animal Jokes and Riddles for Kids

Author: Kids Corner Publishing

One of a series of animal jokes for children on virtually any animal you can think of. The format is simple. Readers find one joke on each page, presented in a question/answer format. There are no illustrations. Most of each page is blank. Some of the jokes have fairly obvious answers. For example, What is a rabbit’s favorite dance? Answer: the bunny hop. Others are more sophisticated. What do you call a rabbit walking backward? Answer: a receding hare line.

This book and the rest of the collection will appeal to children who can’t get enough of jokes. The books are a good choice for children as entertainment at parties. They are a simple read so I would recommend them for beginning readers or reluctant readers who are intimidated by too much text on a page. Children who are animal lovers and enjoy sharing jokes will find this collection right up their alley.

 

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AUTISM: 101

Autism: Simple and Inexpensive Natural Autism Therapies to Help Your Autistic Child Live a Calm and Healthy Life

Written by Nancy Perez

The author is a proponent of natural therapies to relieve stress and anxiety. She has used them to treat her own diabetes for years and has written how to employ them to assist in the treatment of autism. In this book, Perez provides an overview of the autism spectrum. While there is a myriad of symptoms and behaviors, all autistic children suffer from communication and socialization issues. Autism appears to have connections with both genetics and the environment.

The heart of the book deals with treatments. While many patients diagnosed with autism require some sort of medication, Perez focuses on more natural treatments. A definite diagnosis is often not made until after age five, but early intervention is important to address a child’s needs. Speech, physical and occupational therapy may be needed as well as special education to address cognition. Depending on the issues the individual faces, music therapy, art therapy, animal therapy, nature therapy, and swing therapy, might be effective interventions. I found the discussion of using horses (hippotherapy) to help a child process sensory movements enlightening. Simpler steps that can be implemented easily in the home include removing chemical products, messaging the child, experimenting with dietary needs, and introducing yoga. Learning each child’s preferences and needs is the most difficult aspect of living and working with a child on the autistic spectrum.

As an educator who has worked as a member of an interdisciplinary team treating autistic children, I would definitely recommend this book to parents and educators who are new to the field of autism as an easy to read introduction to the subject.

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A STORY THAT MUST BE TOLD

Holocaust Survivor
Dan Myers, Author, and Editor
Virginia Weinkratz, Narrator

This is not a book for the feint-hearted. The author relates her personal experience as a young 22-year-old Jewish girl growing up in Poland. She communicates the heartache of suddenly being torn from family and community to live a life of fear and uncertainty. Trapped between the German and Soviet forces, the family fees struggling to remain together. Once captured, the men and women are quickly separated. Regina and her mother are torn from her father and male siblings. They are moved from the ghetto to Auschwitz where Regina loses her mother and befriends Elka. Regina describes in graphic detail the physical, mental and emotional atrocities of prison life. Then she is marched to Majdanek, where she remains close to death until “liberated.” Two-thirds of the Jewish population as well as many whom the Nazis viewed as undesirables would be wiped out during World War II.

This book is recommended for young adult and adult audiences who are prepared to read about one of the darkest events in history.

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OUT OF REACH

Sean Wants to Be a Messi

Written by Tanya Preminger

Illustrated by Elettra Cudignotti

Sean is a second grader who is obsessed with soccer, especially one player named Leo Messi. He seems uninterested in finishing his homework or paying attention in school. He is excited to join soccer club to perfect his skill, but upon arrival, he refuses to play. His mother is upset with him. Both parents encourage Sean to overcome his fears of inadequacy and start developing his game skills. One day, a sixth grader bullies him and throws Sean’s soccer ball over the fence. One day a player is injured and an opportunity arises for Sean to assist. I am not sure I approve of Sean’s mother’s response, but Sean learns a valuable lesson about himself and the game.

Recommended as a beginning chapter book for new or reluctant readers. The book has a few colorful illustrations to keep the story flowing. Soccer fans will particularly enjoy reading it.

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ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

Being the New Girl in School

Written by Kathleen Voclain

This book is a wonderful resource for any young lady who, for any reason, is facing a move to a new school. No matter what age, she faces worries about how she will fit into the school’s culture, will she be liked, who will be her friend, and the feeling of loss in leaving old relationships behind. The author explains the importance of developing a positive self-image and strong social skills. In the first chapter, readers are encouraged to build confidence by preparing ahead of time. Students should explore the new school’s mission statement and handbook, study the curriculum and practice portraying positive body image. They can get a good head start by making a good impression on teachers. Suggestions include sitting near the front, volunteering to answer questions and offering help and compliments. Newcomers need to observe students and how they interact with each other before deciding on new friends. By dressing neatly, smiling, and introducing oneself with confidence, new students encourage positive outcomes. Those students who are naturally shy or independent should take their time to find a few friends who have interests similar to their own. Finally, when things do go wrong, the new student must remain positive and proud, appreciate and respect the differences of other peers. Above all, never give in to the temptation to compare the new school to your old one or slack off on your studies. Accentuate the positive and use the opportunity to develop your personality and grow from new experiences.

The book could be used as advice for children or adults who are entering any new stage of life. It is an easy read filled with good reminders to promote courage in facing new situations and learning opportunities. Recommended for ages eight and older.

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