Pervasive failure in the American classroom is attributed to undiagnosed brain injuries in this critical analysis of why some students still can’t read or do math.
What if the educational problems faced by many learning-disabled students are due not to behavioral or psychological issues, but to physical damage done to children’s brains? That’s the provocative argument presented by Vuai, who isn’t averse to ruffling a few feathers to make his case. Clearly, the author has a bone to pick with policymakers and education administrators; he often punctuates his observations with pointed sentences, like “Is that so hard to understand?” The tone is unabashedly combative—but justifiably so, because if he’s right, then too many children are missing a critical window of opportunity in their development to get the help they need. In addition, even adequate parents and teachers are being blamed for not doing their part to help troubled students succeed. As a cognitive neuroscientist and board-certified neuropsychologist, the author is well equipped to discuss the various learning-related centers in the brain and how certain injuries could occur as a result of subtle biological or environmental factors. According to the author, these so-called “non-traumatic” brain injuries are not properly understood, although they need to be. The book focuses squarely on reaching education specialists—those new to teaching as well as veterans—in the hope that they will consider the neurological factors that could be causing their students’ frustrations. It’s a major step in a worthy endeavor.
An urgent call to rethink how we teach some of our most vulnerable children.