Having an older ‘child’ who has neurodevelopmental disorders, I came to this book hoping to find some useful and practical tips.
Unfortunately I was a little disappointed as, although the book is indeed rich with overviews of various disabilities and learning processes, I did not discover any strategies that were new to me or anything else that would help with my daughter’s disability-related issues. Perhaps the book might be more enlightening to parents of a younger child, but 20 years into our special needs journey much of the content is (perhaps inevitably) already familiar.
That said, initially I did find some of the information on reading disorders quite interesting, but I was soon overwhelmed by the dense writing style. The surfeit of complex vocabulary used within some very long, drawn-out sentences replete with numerous references made, at times, for quite difficult reading. By the end of some sentences I had almost lost track of what it was I was reading about.
Consequently, I think even the keenest readers would find this book a bit of a struggle. I’m not convinced many parents would actually find the time to wade through such voluminous information, nor that it would suit experienced teachers, most of whom I feel certain will already know of and be using its suggested strategies.
Perhaps it would be better used as a reference work for teachers who lack experience in working with children with special educational needs and who are looking for a comprehensive source from which to build on their subject knowledge. Its 11 chapters certainly contain a wealth of information, including precise definitions of different types of neurodevelopment disorders, including Intellectual Developmental Disorder, Communication Disorders and Language Disabilities, ADHD, ASD, Motor Disorders, and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Specific Learning Difficulties (Chapters 3–8).
In the main, this information is really detailed and useful… if you can stick with it. Once I reached Chapter 9 (Specific Learning Disorders in Reading), however, it became way too detailed for me, and it remained so right through to the end of Chapter 11. Similarly with the mammoth list of references at the end of the book. To be frank I doubt anyone would actually read them all the way through as there are so many.
Frank E. Vargo – W W Norton & Co Ltd – ISBN: 9780393709438
Reviewed by Lisa Robinson
Overall, I feel this book might make a useful reference work for teachers embarking on their SEN journey but the content, level of detail, and style will put off seasoned parents and professionals.