Laughing Allegra: The Inspiring Story of a Mother's Struggle and Triumph Raising a Daughter with Learning Disabilitiesby Anne Ford, John-Richard Thompson
When Anne Ford, the great-granddaughter of Henry Ford, learned that her daughter Allegra's "differences" were the result of severe learning disabilities (LD), she faced a challenge that neither money nor position could ease. Desperate for answers, she sought out countless doctors, schools, and tutors for help. As she journeyed from denial to acceptance, Anne faced… See more details below
When Anne Ford, the great-granddaughter of Henry Ford, learned that her daughter Allegra's "differences" were the result of severe learning disabilities (LD), she faced a challenge that neither money nor position could ease. Desperate for answers, she sought out countless doctors, schools, and tutors for help. As she journeyed from denial to acceptance, Anne faced rejection, intolerance, disinterest, and puzzlement from friends, family, and professionals, eventually finding her way to the schools, people, and situations that enabled her to raise her family with hope and promise. She became an activist on behalf of children and families faced with LD and, in time, Anne saw her child grow into a vibrant, loving, independent adult with a passion for ice-skating and a commitment to help other children with disabilities.
While Allegra's disabilities are unique (as with each child with LD), the feelings of pain, frustration, shame, and guilt felt by Anne are shared to a varying degree by all parents of a child with LD. As Anne writes, "When Allegra was diagnosed, I needed information to explain her condition and what I could do to help her, but I also needed a guide to the heart...I needed to connect with someone who had been through it already and could offer words of comfort and the most simple reassuring statement a parent can hear: 'Your child will be fine.' I didn't have that, and that is my reason for writing this book, to enlighten parents and give them hope and help guide them on the oftentimes treacherous journey."
In addition to her personal story, Anne includes three invaluable special sections: answers to the most commonly asked questions about LD; a resource guide on where to find help; and a discussion from a mother's perspective on the challenges concerning homework, money, relationships, the workplace, getting around, and planning as the child with LD and the parents age. As for Allegra's thoughts about her mom writing this book, the introduction conveys her message: "I think mom has done well...telling people out there that you CAN get help...I didn't want my life in a book at first [and] we talked it over and thought about it. If it helps other kids then we should do it and so I told my mom OK."
"A painfully honest memoir…Anne Ford's devotion, not her money and prominence, made the difference for her learning disabled daughter." —Detroit Free-Press
"An inspiring story that any parent with a 'special child' can relate to." —Barbara Walters
"Compelling…Strongly recommended." —Library Journal
"This poignant intimate portrait opens an often-hidden world and illuminates many ways learning disabilities shape the lives of entire families." —Publishers Weekly
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.46(h) x 0.90(d)
Meet the Author
Anne Ford's previous books are the acclaimed memoir Laughing Allegra, about raising her severely learning-disabled daughter, and On Their Own: Creating an Independent Future for Your Adult Child with Learning Disabilities and ADHD. She served as Chairman of the Board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities from 1989 to 2001. The daughter of Henry Ford II, she lives in New York City and lectures widely on LD and ADHD issues.
John Richard-Thompson, an award-winning playwright and novelist, collaborates with Anne Ford on her books.
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This was assigned reading for a class, but I am so glad it was assigned. I really enjoyed the book and learned a lot.