Review of "The Survival Guide for Kids With LD*"

By Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings
Free Spirit Publishing, 2002
Review by Barbara Foster, Ph.D. on Apr 29th 2003
The Survival Guide for Kids With LD*

The Survival Guide for Kids with LD is a simply presented guide written for those dealing with LD or rather "learning differences." Written by University of Nevada-Reno LD professors, Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings, this book discusses different types of LD difficulties, resources, and coping strategies. Unlike many LD books, this is written at approximately a fourth grade level to help kids with LD recognize how and why LD affects their lives. The bulk of the book addresses what does LD mean and doesn't mean.

This book appeals to general readers because of its informal tone, style and format. This readable prose is written in a way that provides simple explanation about what LD problems are and what can be done about them. Its style appeals to particularly to LD kids who have difficulty processing language and the format is easy to follow. Not only did the authors provide examples of dialogue with LD kids, but they also cited research to back up their explanation of different types of LD problems. The text uses simplified dictionary explanation on LD terminologies that parents or non-LD people might not be familiar with.

From the beginning, the authors use first-person language and self-questioning technique to draw kids to read the book. These questions target many issues kids face, not just those with LD. Foe example, "Do you have trouble with schoolwork even though you think you are smart?" "Do you wish you had more friends, but you just do not know how to say and do the right things?" and "Do you wish your parents would let you do what you want instead of making you spend hours and hours on homework?" The authors address each issue in an informative and practical way that inspires kids who may not like school to set goals and plan for the future. In short, the text creates an open, non-threatening approach and asks some real questions to help kids who are struggling academically, emotionally, and socially. It also includes up-to-date resources for parents and teachers to learn more about LD.

The honest solutions suggested by the authors aim at boosting the self-esteem of LD kids that being different have a uniquely positive side. This is a wonderful tool for families and kids to learn about the harsh reality of being different in a competitive world and they are not alone.

This book has not only created a new perspective for me as a professional, but also raised new questions and presented materials in a novel manner. Hopefully, teachers and parents who read this book will come to appreciate that LD kids can also succeed in school and in life, but they may need to learn different strategies to compensate areas of weaknesses.


© 2003 Barbara Foster


Barbara Foster, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education, Dowling College, NY


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