A Special Education: One Family's Journey Through the Maze of Learning Disabilities

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"Celebrated American designer Dana Buchman knew almost nothing about "learning differences" when her older daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with neurological, spatial, and motor-skill disabilities as a toddler. Up to that point, from Ivy League to the launch of her own fashion label, Buchman had encountered few obstacles that couldn't be overcome through hard work and determination. But her ability to "fix" things wouldn't be enough to deal with Charlotte's disabilities; she would have to acquire a new skill set - to be able to see Charlotte as ...
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A Special Education: One Family's Journey Through the Maze of Learning Disabilities

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Overview

"Celebrated American designer Dana Buchman knew almost nothing about "learning differences" when her older daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with neurological, spatial, and motor-skill disabilities as a toddler. Up to that point, from Ivy League to the launch of her own fashion label, Buchman had encountered few obstacles that couldn't be overcome through hard work and determination. But her ability to "fix" things wouldn't be enough to deal with Charlotte's disabilities; she would have to acquire a new skill set - to be able to see Charlotte as a person with unique abilities." "A Special Education reveals the long and arduous process of Charlotte's development - as well as Buchman's own path to self-discovery. Confessing frequent anxiety, guilt, frustration, and anger, Buchman describes the search to find the right school and care for Charlotte, and the strain the process put on her marriage and family life. In addition, Buchman tells of her own struggles with excessive drinking, workaholism - and of finally letting go of her drive to be "perfect."" A mother-daughter story, A Special Education is an account of one mother's journey to acceptance and understanding, as well as a family's triumph over daunting circumstances.
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Editorial Reviews

Family Therapy
An inspiring account of one mother1s journey to acceptance and understanding as well as a family1s triumph over daunting circumstances.
Publishers Weekly
The famous clothing designer recounts with tremendous candor her difficult and transformative acceptance of her daughter's lifetime of learning difficulties. At 35, newly married, pregnant and offered the chance to start her own knitwear label, Buchman was a hard-driven, perfectionist New Yorker determined to "have it all." But Charlotte, her first born, soon exhibited slow growth in movement and language, and at age four underwent a battery of tests that revealed she suffered from dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and a host of other developmental difficulties. Buchman and her husband were faced with coming to terms with having a "disabled child"-requiring not only special schools and a herculean patience but the courage to overcome the shame and guilt associated with acknowledging publicly that their life wasn't perfect. Moreover, Buchman recognized she tended to favor her needier child over her second "normal" child, although the siblings eventually excelled in areas that didn't compete with each other. With therapy and specialists to prepare her for the larger world, Charlotte, now in college, is well on her way to a productive life. Buchman's forthright memoir (and list of resources) will go far in lightening the pall surrounding children with special needs. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Good reading for parents facing any level of special need in their children...Uplifting.
Library Journal
This intensely personal memoir tells the story of a daughter's and a mother's struggles with learning disabilities. When she was a 35-year-old newlywed and mother to be, Buchman took on the challenge of running her own fashion line. The difficulties of operating a new business, however, would not compare to raising her firstborn Charlotte, who began to show signs of dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, along with developmental disabilities. Tests and the search for proper schools and doctors followed, while Buchman embarked on her own path to self-discovery. The perfection-seeking New Yorker eventually came to see Charlotte as a person with unique abilities (in fact, she's attending college in New England). Kudos to Buchman for her forthright memoir, which should go a long way toward lifting the stigma of learning disabilities. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Walter J. Cegelka, St. Thomas Univ., Miami, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738210339
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2006
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Popular American fashion designer Dana Buchman lives in New York City with her husband and their youngest daughter, Annie. Charlotte Farber, co-author of A Special Education, now attends college in New England.

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2006

    Excellant Insight into Real Life with LD

    This is an excellant book and well written. It is NOT A TEXTBOK ON LD, and is not intended to be one. It is a very transparent account of one woman's view of living and learning about LD and the problems and mistakes that she and her spouse made. This 'transparency' is almost autobiographical and is very 'personal' in view of Dana Buchman's 'high-society, upscale, type-A personality and 'mask' of everything is 'fine'. Two moving comments: 'There we were sipping tea with extended pinkies, while on the inside, we were each an Armageddon of emotions' 'Even with the best of intentions, we fell into a pattern in which both girls came up short. Charlotte, with her LD, did not receive enough prodding, or pushing to do things herself. We erred on the side of supporting her insecurities.' This is a good read with practical advice on 'if I could do this again'. Excellant book Dana!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    The Advantage of 'Differences'

    A skillfully written intimate look at 'one family's journey through the maze of learning disabilities.' I found the book to be most interesting as well as applicble and meaningful in my own life. The way in which Dana's daughter Charlotte experiences life by living in the moment and dealing with life more slowly making it possible to appreciate life more fully, seems to me to be a definite 'advantage' rather than a 'disability' -- that's why I prefer the term 'difference' in describing her life experience. I also appreciated the personal look into the life of the acclaimed designer and author of the book. This is not just a book for teachers or partents of LD children, but for anyone who enjoys an honest look at facing life's 'differences.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2006

    Not helpful

    As a mother of an LD child, I thought that I would find much more useful information in this book. I think it was really about the mother, not the daughter, and I certainly didn't learn anything new.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2006

    A disappointment

    This was a great disappointment. I was looking forward to getting an insider's view, but was overwhelmed with the constant self-obsorbsion of the mother. The best part of the book was the afterward written by her daughter with the learning disabilities. I wish she had written the entire book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2006

    A Gift to All

    A Special Education is a great read and a moving story. For me, a teacher, this well written book added a lot to my understanding of the parents' struggles and the family dynamics of nurturing and encouraging a child with learning differences. Ms Buchman is to be congratulated for a candid and forthright account of her family's journey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2006

    I am touched by this book !!

    This was a true from the heart book.Not only does it touch on mother/daughter relationships but the struggles to help a child who has a learning disability. I found it to be very informative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2006

    an education for all of us

    Dana Buchman's book is a compeling story that everyone should read. She explains the challenges and joys of educating (in school and life) a child with complex learning differences. By sharing, in a very personal fashion, her family's journey, this book will not only help people directly involved in this challenge, but teaches us all how to be more open and understanding.I not only enjoyed reading this story, I am also a better person for reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2006

    'Thumbs UP!!! for 'A SPECIAL EDUCATION'

    Extremely touching, inspiring and well written story about lives affected by things seeimingly out of our control and how such special people are actually truly blessed far beyond our deepest imagination. A must read for those touched by learning disabilites. Heart warming, consoling and informative. Get it today!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2006

    One Family's Journey

    I found Ms. Buchman's journey to be truly inspiring. As an educator and a mother she provided me with thought provoking information to be able to relate more to my student's families as well as how to slow down and relate to my own children. I applaude her ability to share such personal information about herself and her family with such emotion and sincerity. I would highly recommend this book for someone who would like to see 'what it is like'. Thank you Dana for sharing your story!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2006

    A Great Story for Almost Any Family

    This is not only the story of a family finding its way through the struggles of raising a child who is different, but a courageous story of self examination and how much can be gained by it. A good guide for any high acheiver facing the challenges of raising a family and maintaining a marriage, even one without learning differences.

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