LEARNING DISABILITIES: A Family Affair by Betty Osman
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Why A Family Affair? Not primarily because learning disabilities are inherited, although some are, but for other, more impelling reasons. Children with learning disabilities learn differently; in the long run they may accomplish as much as other children but their routes to mastery vary. Furthermore, the child who, for example, has a poor memory doesn't leave his problems at school. When his parents give him directions--to go upstairs, change to pajamas, and bring down a sweater--he may remember just one; he needs support in following through. This informed, precise, and compassionate book never overlooks the central fact that a child with learning differences often needs different help at home--such as more structure--and that such needs can cause pressure within a family. Frequently, such children are ""catalysts for tension and chaos."" They may be scapegoated or overindulged. Generally they are harder to discipline although, as Osman points out, anticipation and prevention are more effective than criticism and punishment. An educational therapist, she scrutinizes the potentially explosive areas (life at home, life at school, homework), indicating numerous examples of successful adaptations, and also offers up-to-date information on community resources (how to make your case) and the rights of LD children as provided by Public Law 94-142. What will be most prized by parents are repeated evidences that she knows how families are affected: that some parents can't help with homework; how a child may go through cycles of improvement and regression; why friendships for LD children are difficult to make and maintain; and what parent groups can provide that professional conferences cannot. An essential, carefully phrased reference offering realistic rules of thumb and a broad, humane perspective.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1978
Publisher: Random House