May 24

Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities

Posted by Soliloquy in For parents | Kindle | Learning Disabled

In a straightforward and empathetic tone, Adelizzi and Goss sensitively offer support to parents of children with learning disabilities who wish to see their children grow to their full potential. While juggling the complex expectations imposed upon them, parents often combat confusion, anger, fear, sadness, and frustration. This book will help diffuse these overwhelming feelings, empowering parents with the ability to provide the academic and personal support their… More >>

Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities

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  • When my middle child was eight years’ old, the head of the Learning Disorders unit of a major hospital told him he didn’t have to worry anymore about the troubles he had in school because, when he was sixteen, he could quit and get a job in a supermarket. Neither he (now a lawyer) nor I have ever forgotten that awful moment.

    If my son’s anguish, and mine for him after that traumatic incident, touch anything in your own experience as a parent, as a teacher, as a professional in the field, then you will find Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities an important book. The authors, Jane Utley Adelizzi and Diane B. Goss, face head on the anguish and the challenges of learning differences, bringing to the subject the wisdom of psychology, the stamina of experience (they are both experts in the field, working at the renowned PAL center at Curry College), and the intensity of faith.

    All three approaches are essential to move people beyond the roadblocks in the classroom, in the family, and in daily life. The thesis of the book is a humane one: that if parents can be patient with themselves and with their children, even when the wounds inflicted by learning differences seem intractable, they will prevail. Adelizzi and Goss give the reader is a roadmap out of the classroom when a student is humiliated into silence and the living room when anger and frustration overwhelm hope. Their goal for the reader is a sense of self and of empowerment over learning difficulties. The terrain, of course, is full of thorns and barbed wire. There are still those who don’t believe in learning differences or who equate them with stupidity or laziness; and there are well-intentioned parents and teachers who believe that the appropriate response is a kind of academic tough love. This is not to say that Adelizzi and Goss skirt the daunting issues of self-esteem and motivation, or what has come to be called “learned helplessness.” But their book is meant to heal, not to punish or harangue.

    They begin at the beginning with what is known about the origins of learning differences and how these differences can be diagnosed. Then they draw in realistic but still poignant detail the social and emotional impact of learning differences. But it is in the main section of the book, where they describe what parents can do to help their children learn, that much valuable material is set in a new context. They connect specific problems to a variety of solutions (including technology) in the processes of writing, reading, speaking, and the ability to do math. Their advice, as they put themselves in the shoes of parents, is clear, practical, and honest: hard work will pay off.

    The most useful aspect of this valuable book is that Adelizzi and Goss give the reader a way out of the darkness. That they locate the source of power in the quality of the relationship between parent and child gives us all something more than hope: things we can do to make it better. It may be hard to read of some of the experiences and limitations described in this book, but the writers know their subject thoroughly and have an irresistible urge to communicate. In some families and in some classrooms, this book will revive spirits and save lives.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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