Posts tagged ‘learning disabilities’

COURAGE AND PERSEVERANCE

Tails of Sweetbrier

Written by Deanie Humphrys- Dunne

Illustrated by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj

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A warm and moving autobiography of a girl who had a dream of riding horses. That might not seem so tough to achieve until you discover that Deanie was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Deanie convinces her parents that she will work hard to achieve that dream, and her father opens up a riding school to support that dream.

Readers follow Deanie’s journey as she learns to walk, trot and canter on her pony, Little Man. As her confidence grows, she begins to dream of loftier goals. Despite a family tragedy with a barn fire that results in the loss of her horse, Chiefie, Deanie and her family persevere and rebuild. We follow their successes and failures as well as the physical hardships that Deanie endures.

The author teachers her young readers to reach for the stars. Work hard to achieve your dreams and use the challenges and failures that occur along the way as a ladder to climb to success. Beautifully written story written in less than one hundred pages that make it perfect for a middle grade and young adult audience. Deanie’s physical challenges and determination also provide inspiration for those with special needs and learning disabilities. The black and white illustrations draw the reader into the story and personalize the narrative enhancing its appeal. Highly recommended for readers age eight and older, especially those who love horses.

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WHO’S AT FAULT?

Blame the Child – It’s Easier: Learning Difficulties Can Be Solved!

Written by Henry Blumenthal

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This book portrays a common sense approach based on the author’s lifelong experiences in education. He bases his conclusions on study and experience which dictates it is far wiser to withhold blame and take an objective and realistic approach to the difficulties manifested in the learning process.

Student victims are often stressed because of the undue pressures placed upon them by parents, teachers and other students. The author attempts to explore flaws in the educational system, parents and supporting personnel. There are many reasons why a student falls behind, excessive absence, changing schools, peer pressure, and poor foundation in basic learning concepts. The system often finds it easier to do a complete psychological testing rather than allow the teacher to discover a particular educational diagnosis of a specific weakness that can be easily remedied. Some teachers move too quickly, teach only in large groups, and do not allow for individual differences. Placed under stress by school districts, teachers feel compelled to cover everything in the curriculum rather than ensuring a firm foundation for future learning. Understanding rather than memorization should be the goal. Teachers need to acknowledge that they too have weaknesses. Rather than fall into the trap of labeling and treating with medication, they should investigate possible symptoms of learning problems.

Blumenthal provides teachers with suggestions for teaching as well as hints for parents. He explores new ways of testing, approaches to curriculum and suggestions for incorporating good nutrition in successful learning environments, as well as productive ways to assess successful teaching. Instead of blaming, parents, students, teachers, and medical personnel can share in their success.

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SIGNS OF SUCCESS

Raising a Happy Child: Easy Techniques for Better Communication With Your Baby and Toddler

Written by Barb Asselin

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This book focuses on using American Sign Language with babies and young children in an effort to provide a means for parents to better answer the communication needs of their children. Learning and using ASL allows a child to communicate with parents before they are able to use spoken language.

Asselin bases the book on her own experiences with her two girls. She begins by explaining what American Sign Language is composed of and the types of populations for which it was designed. The author provides some history of its use. While ASL is used primarily with the deaf, Down’s Syndrome or Learning Disabled children, parents and caregivers have learned that babies can easily learn the basic signs to use for communication. She lists the 50 plus signs that are most common, milk, again and more are often starting points. Asselin cautions parents not to overdo or force learning, but to gradually build up a set of vocabulary words. Once you have begun to communicate with your child, the next step is to introduce the program to caregivers and teachers. Finally, the author provides a comprehensive list of resources for reference and additional support in using the program.

I have a nephew whose parents have introduced him to sign language. He is quite adept and comfortable with basic sign and takes to it naturally. This book is a good tool for any parent who is interested in exploring earlier and better communication with a child and is willing to take the time to invest in mastering it. I would recommend all parents and prospective parents to take a look at it.

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