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Success Strategies for Kids with Learning Differences

Book Review: ‘Confidence & Joy: Success Strategies for Kids with Learning Differences’ by Deborah Ross-Swain and Elaine Fogel Schneider

Discouragement and low self-esteem are the last feelings we want children to experience when they venture into the world of learning. But children with learning differences are often robbed of their confidence. In their breakthrough new book, Confidence & Joy: Success Strategies for Kids with Learning Differences, the authors, Deborah Ross-Swain and Elaine Fogel Schneider, are parents and educators with strategies and checklists to allow children for whom learning is more challenging to gain confidence and to succeed.

The authors, both leading speech-language pathologists, reveal how children with learning differences are tragically overlooked in our education system. They make the case that children with learning difficulties must be given opportunities to feel good about themselves.

Using moving stories of real-life cases in which children struggled with learning differences, but who, with effective intervention at home and in the classroom were able to feel connected and confident, the authors provide inspiration and guidance to parents and professionals that will lead to successful outcomes for a struggling child.

The authors make a distinction between learning differences and learning disabilities. Children with learning differences aren’t disabled; they’re capable of learning everything their peers learn. But when they struggle to learn through traditional teaching methods, they’re often labeled “lazy” or “inattentive.” Parents and teachers are provided tips for deciphering behavioral signs that signal a learning difference — and, when caught, can lead to finding the best learning style for the child.

For example, some children may require tasks be broken down into more manageable steps. Or, some may require guidance in social interactions, such as turn-taking or appropriate boundaries. The authors make the important point that any child who is different in one way can be bright in another. A child with a speech and language delay may have a high intellect and even superior receptive language skills, but just not be able to speak and be understood.

Several chapters in the book are devoted to advocating for one’s child. These include advice such as when to have your child assessed, how to build a team of specialists to assist the child and how to find and promote the child’s talents in ways that will jump-start his or her confidence and joy. Included are tips and checklists for getting started.

The five tips that allow a child’s brightness to shine, for example, include advice such as allowing the child to engage in extracurricular activities in which he or she excels, like sports or the arts, and also the importance of refraining from making comparisons between your learning different child and other children.

In Confidence & Joy: Success Strategies for Kids with Learning Differences, the authors offer parents who feel isolated and teachers who feel overwhelmed valuable strategies for creating success for the learning different child. They lay a foundation for change and reveal how, when parents and educators work together and allow opportunities for a child’s academic and social success, then different doesn’t have to be negative.

Learn more at the book’s website.

About Patricia Gale

Patricia Gale has written and ghostwritten hundreds of blogs and articles that have appeared on sites such as Psychology Today, Forbes, and Huffington Post, and in countless national newspapers and magazines. Her "beat" is health, business, career, self-help, parenting, and relationships.

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