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Posted May 11, 2010
Jane Healy has done it again!
[review written by Gloria DeGaetano, Founder and CEO, The Parent Coaching Institute; www.thepci.org]
This is a far-reaching, yet specific guide for parents and teachers to support children's optimal development and learning. As in her now classic book, Endangered Minds, Healy delivers a comprehensive, user-friendly read in her latest book, Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Helping Your Children's Learning Problems.
It's sobering to think that a child born in the United States has a 30 percent chance of being diagnosed with some type of learning problem. That about 2.5 million children take prescription drugs for attention and hyperactivity. That there are seven million children currently enrolled in special education with autism on the rise by 800% over the last decade. Beginning by describing the extent of the challenges, Dr. Healy shows us that there truly exists today a new epidemic of learning problems affecting children from across all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum. In her typical no-nonsense prose, the reader clearly understands the most current research, often through vivid examples from parents and succinct quotes from compelling experts.
The book considers different categories of learning disorders and/or learning differences with a review of the research on a variety of successful treatments. Healy then turns to the "heart" of the book-discussing how genetics and the environment interact to impact brain development. She emphasizes that a difference often doesn't mean a disability. Instead, Healy demonstrates the role of the environment in shaping a child's brain and simultaneously his/her learning skills. We emphasize the home environment as an important factor at the Parent Coaching Institute, as anyone who has been coached by a PCI Certified Parent Coach® knows. By making adjustments, sometimes even seemingly slight adjustments in the child's home environment many positive changes occur. And environmental changes not only change children, they change parents as well. A parent who was tired out and overwhelmed by a child's poor progress in school, for instance, suddenly becomes infused with energy and new possibilities by the simple act of keeping the television turned off when the child is doing homework. I have seen this happen over and over for hundreds of parents and their children, bringing more engagement in previously "difficult" homework, and enhancing the child's motivation for learning in the process.
In today's increasingly hectic and fragmented world, Different Learners provides clear directives for focusing on what works to help any and all learners-no matter their challenges, styles, or diagnosis. Jane Healy, in her straightforward style and through her indomitable spirit, provides elegant answers for the ugly concerns wearing out millions of parents and wearing down millions of children. If you are a teacher or a parent seeking sane advice, helpful ideas, and fresh insights-buy this book. Since it is so jam-packed with useful information, you probably will want to refer to it time and time again. Different Learners is destined to become a classic by showing you unequivocally that your child, at home and in the classroom, is destined to succeed.
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