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Learning and Attention Disorders: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Iram Khan

as a teacher I have been overwhelmed with the theories, recommendations, and the "tried and true" solutions to the behaviors that are tied to learning and attention disorders. It feels like every parent, educator, doctor, naturopath... everyone has an idea to contribute to this "problem" that has taken over homes and schools all over the world. Doesn't everyone know a child that has some sort of learning or attention disorder: dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder, etc.? As more children are being diagnosed with these learning disorders, questions begin to arise as to the number that are being misdiagnosed, mistreated, and, even worse, mismedicated. William Feldman's new book, Learning and Attention Disorders pleasantly surprised me in its attempts to dig through the garbage that has been created around this issue. Finally, here is a book that deals with the straight facts!

Learning and Attention Disorders book cover In the introduction to this book Feldman writes, "I believe that the only responsible and ethical way to treat children with learning disabilities is to use methods that have been proven to be effective in scientifically conducted tests and trials." Now, isn't that a wonderful statement? Unfortunately, many people are not following it. The learning disability industry must be making millions. Many remedies such as cranial massage, strict diets, motion-sickness pills, visiting the chiropractor, and all the medication out there, are not scientifically tested as much as we would expect. Not only do these methods waste the time and money of parents and caregivers, they waste the limited energy that most people have these days. Feldman suggests that people should slow down for a minute and actually analyze what they are hearing and reading about the solutions to learning disabilities. For all you know, your child may not have a learning disability in the first place.

This is how this book becomes valuable. Feldman goes through many of the types of scientific testing that are used to claim that a method is successful. He outlines the negative and positive aspects of each one and explains how we can judge the scientific information we are receiving. Feldman then, step by step, goes through some basic signs that children display and do not display if they have a variety of different learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dysorthographia, dyscalculia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As well, with each learning disability, Feldman discusses the possible treatments and the myths surrounding them... the ones that have been successful and the ones that have not. Time and time again, it is emphasized that there are no miracle cures to learning disabilities and that it may take a lot of patience and energy before you see any improvement.

Even though it is only 195 pages long, Feldman has successfully written an authoritative guide to learning disabilities. Unlike many other books written on this subject, this book is quick and easy to read and very straight forward. As well, at the end of the book, Feldman provides a useful list of other resources that can give more extensive information including organizations, books, journals, and internet sites. I thoroughly recommend Learning and Attention Disorders: A Guide for Parents and Teachers to any parent, caregiver, or educator who is beginning to investigate learning disabilities, but mostly to anyone who has been overwhelmed by the vast amount of learning disabilities information out in this crazy world.

published by key porter books
ISBN 1-55263-115-x

Iram Khan is a teacher living in BC's Lower Mainland.

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