Posts tagged ‘children with disabilities’

A HANDBOOK FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS

Roadmap to Navigating Your Child’s Disability
Written by Chrissie Kahan
Illustrated by Blueberry Illustrations

I would heartily recommend this book for parents and educators who are interested in navigating the tricky world of special education. For parents who suspect that something is just not right, this book provides an introduction to the types of disabilities and treatments available. Teachers who have not been trained in the field of special education need a basic understanding of the problems and resources available to treat them.

This book is divided into three sections. The first part explores the endless jargon employed in the educational testing, developing the plan, and implementing the Individual Educational Plan that each diagnosed child is entitled to have. This is a very scary and confusing process for parents. In the second section, the author explains who are the members of the team, how long the process takes, and how a parent can successfully advocate for their child. The third section is an alphabetical listing of the most common disabilities found in children, accommodations available within the school, reference links to resources, and how to reinforce what is taught in the school setting right in the home.

The world of special education is often written in legal language fraught with difficulty to understand. The way an IEP is developed and implemented varies greatly from state to state and school district. This book gives parents and teachers a good introduction and provides a readable reference source. As an educator with forty years of experience in general and special education, I would highly recommend this handbook to those about to become familiar with the special education world.

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SINK OR SWIM

CHILDREN’S BOOK:DIARY OF OSCAR RABBIT: FUNNY, ILLUSTRATED BED-TIME STORY- READ ALOUD……

OscarRabbit,pic

Written and illustrated by Melinda Kinsman

New series of books featuring a young boy named Billy and his collection of stuffed toys who live on the top of the wardrobe in his bedroom and are affectionately referred to as The Top of the Wardrobe Gang. Previous rhyming books in the series have featured their adventures in writing books for kids, which they turned to as a diversion to pass the time of day when their owner Billy went to school. In this new series, members of the gang will allow readers a glimpse into their daily diary entries.

Oscar Rabbit narrates in the first adventure. He is upset that the gang’s writing schedule is going to be disrupted because a new swimming pool in town is about to open. Billy is really excited not only for himself, but especially for his cousin Ben because this new pool is accessible to the disabled. Ben is wheelchair bound.

The Top of the Wardrobe Gang are determined to swim in the pool with their human friends. Oscar knows that stuffed animals will sink, but his friends refuse to be dissuaded. He writes in his diary about how Billy’s grandmother makes them all bathing suits and brings them cookies. Finally, opening day arrives. What will happen to the Gang? They seem determined to ignore the truth.

This book is targeted for readers ages four through eight. Preschoolers will read through the clever illustrations. Beginning readers will enjoy story written in short paragraphs of text with just enough challenge, but not overwhelming for new readers. They will delight in the activities provided at the end: matching, mazes, simple math, and find the differences. An answer key is provided for self-checking. Wonderful value for the story entertainment and enrichment activities to extend learning. Highly recommended for young readers, teachers and parents.

TOUGH TIMES

Fing

Written by G. Papa

Illustrated by Gary McCluskey

Fing,pic

An unusual and well-written chapter book featuring six year old Ulrich Von Strudel as the protagonist. Ulrich has a major disability; he was born without knees. When the story opens, Ulrich is about to be picked up from boarding school for Christmas vacation. He learns that his parents have been captured by a pygmy tribe in Africa and are presumed dead. To make matters worse, his mean great aunt, Mrs. Lipstick is taking charge of him.

Poor Ulrich learns he will have to sleep in the attic and eat one meal a day. After a difficult struggle to get upstairs, he discovers a furry one-eyed monster named Fing in the closet. Fing will turn out to be an ally, when Mrs. Lipstick conspires with the family lawyer to eliminate Ulrich.

This modern fairy tale has a definite dark side, but the author intersperses humor throughout. Ulrich faces his disability with strength of character. How will he survive his parents’ death and the machinations of his nefarious guardian? There are a few surprise twists in this one hundred page chapter book.

I enjoyed this story immensely. The book is an interesting book for early readers who are not disturbed by a bit of the dark side and are not overly sensitive. In general I would recommend the book for readers age eight and older. The short chapters lend themselves to a class read aloud for discussion. Black and white pencil drawings really bring the characters to life. As a bedtime story, parents need to use their own discretion, though I think adults may enjoy the book as much as a child. Very entertaining read.

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TRUE SPIRIT OF MOTHERHOOD

The Bridge

Written by Kay Bratt

TheBridge,pic

It’s Mother’s Day here in the United States. Whether you celebrate the holiday today or on another day on the calendar, this book expresses the true nature of motherhood.

The book is a short story of approximately seventy pages that will grip you on many levels. Ms. Bratt has spent five years in China and bases her writing experiences on the time she spent there and the love she acquired for the country’s people. She quickly and deftly paints the scene in Suzhou, China, 2010, portraying the old woman named Jing who is now dependent on the generosity of her son for her own survival. Jing is grateful to be able to care for her grandson and cook the meals in exchange for food and shelter over her head. She collects old sweaters and uses scraps of wool to make scarves so that she can save enough money to prepare for her unmarried daughter Qian’s annual trip home for the New Year holidays.

The reader soon senses her generosity of spirit and kindness. Jing notices a young five year old boy sitting on the bridge near her window and watches with sadness as his mother does not return for him. Jing takes him in for the night and realizes that he is blind. She resolves to take him by foot to the orphanage, where she is a familiar character. The reader learns that she has done this many times before. Feeling particularly sad about the vulnerability and susceptibility of this disabled five year old named Fei Fei, Jing is unable to forget him. When she makes a return trip to the orphanage, she finds that he has been neglected. The director agrees to place Fei Fei in her care as a foster parent for three years. Jing doubts she will be able to succeed in taking care of him until he is old enough to be trained properly in a school for blind children, but she knows his survival is dependent upon her. When Jing’s daughter Qian arrives for the holidays, circumstances take another dramatic turn.

The reader learns how the concept of motherhood can change and transform us. Will Fei Fei face a life of misery or will the struggling old woman named Jing somehow succeed in rehabilitating this child who, like many other Chinese children, has been abandoned on the “Lucky Bridge?” I recommend this book to children age eight and up. The story is based on a character that the author met in China. All the characters are well developed; the author explores some very important societal issues as well as the culture of China. This book is a good multicultural addition to a classroom library and introduces children living in the Western hemisphere to Asian traditions.

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