Learning Difficulties
Survival Guides
All of Now What?! in PDF format

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Homogenised & Webinated by
Sheldon Q. Bartleby, Esq.

Help! Now What?! by Robyn Wilson

Survival Guides

Delisle, J. &. Galbraith., J. (1987). The Gifted Kids Survival Guide II: A Sequel to the Original Gifted Kids Survival Guide (for Ages 11-18): Free Spirit Publishers, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 152pgs. ISBN 091-579-301-9 1.
Upon receiving many letters and personal communications from students regarding the earlier gifted survival book, Delisle and Galbraith decided to combine their new discoveries, requests for information and answers to questions into this text. In essence, this text continues from where the earlier books concluded. It goes over similar ground, in some cases in more depth, and tackles areas not previously discussed in the earlier edition. This is a text written in a casual yet informative style, utilising cartoon depictions and an effective variety of bold and italic print styles. This text would most likely be effective in gaining the visual attention of those aged eleven to eighteen years.

Judy Galbraith has a M.A. in guidance and counselling of the gifted, utilised in teaching gifted youth, their parents and teachers. She is the creator of Free Spirit Publishing - specialists in self-help books for children/ teenagers and is the author and co-author of many books for the gifted. Jim Delisle is a well known author of gifted literature and has taught both handicapped and gifted students. Judy Galbraith was an assistant professor of gifted education at Kent State University.

Fisher, G. L. & Cummings, R.W. (1991). The School Survival Guide for Kids with LD, Learning Differences: Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 164pgs. ISBN 091-579-332-6.
Fisher and Cummings wrote this book as a direct result of feedback from children who had read their earlier survival guide; many of their ideas have been incorporated within this guide. Split into three parts this text firstly tackles ways to make school easier and fun. Ideas include organisation techniques, computer use, test techniques and how to seek help from adults. Some children with learning difficulties, including those with dyslexia, find it virtually impossible to read the time from an analogue clock, preferring a digital watch or clock, or to understand how long a unit of time actually is e.g. five minutes. Practical examples show the student how to overcome such difficulties Part Two examines school tools for learning, ways and steps to help the child improve at core curriculum subjects. Part Three shows ways to keep school cool, how to socialise, resolve conflict issues and how to succeed.

This survival guide is ably illustrated with many humorous cartoons; new or difficult words are spelt and have pronunciation details, diagrams and boxed sections, very child friendly. References to chapters 7 -12 are included, as is an index. The recommended learning and teaching materials section would appear to be somewhat dated and applicable to American students, however, books recommended in the organizational skills and school skills sections provide a basis for searching library catalogues for practical books to help your child/ ren.

This is the second book written by Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings in a series of self-help books for gifted children. Gary Fisher is employed by the University of Nevada where he teaches school counsellors and psychologists how to help children with problems including learning differences. Rhoda Cummings is also employed by the University of Nevada and teaches special education. Her background includes practical experience teaching English and successfully raising a gifted son with learning differences.

Fisher, G. L. & Cummings, R.W. (1993). The Survival Guide for Teenagers with LD [Learning differences]: Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 190pgs. ISBN 091-579-332-6.
This text contains discussion of such issues such as dating, driving, getting a job and the future. Fisher and Cummings reiterate that learning different does not mean that you are dumb. In fact they describe five kinds of learning difficulties; academic, language learning disability, ADD, perceptual motor disability and social perceptual disability. Examining one chapter ‘Making and Keeping Friends' the discussion initially settles on two illustrative real-life examples. It then moves onto facts about keeping friends including the fact that having learning differences does not have to get in the way of making friends. Discussion then moves onto ten tips for making and keeping friends. All points are written in casual, easy to understand English.

Use of cartoons within funky borders and bold headings make for eye catching reading in this text. While a formal bibliography is not given, an index is provided. Published in 1993 this survival guide is the third in a series of collaborative texts by Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings, specifically aimed at helping and guiding gifted teenagers. At the date of publication Gary Fisher was teaching at the University of Nevada with a background in psychology. Rhoda Cummings worked is a colleague of Gary Fisher at the University of Nevada, specialising in teaching special education.

Fisher, G. L, & Cummings, R. W, (1995). When Your Child has LD (Learning Differences): A Survival Guide for Parents: Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 151pgs. ISBN 091-579-387-3.
Like other survival guides this text provides a reassuring handbook answering many of the questions commonly posed by parents, starting with gripes and concerns faced by all parents of LD children. Initial chapters discuss definitions and types of learning difficulties and why Fisher and Cummings do not use the term dyslexia. Discussion moves onto genetic and environmental causes of learning difficulties and describes early signs of LD including a section on child development and prominent theories. Later chapters offer advice on facing issues of how Learning Difficulties can affect your child and family, and in particular provide coping strategies for dealing with those nosy yet well meaning relatives and friends. Chapter Nine lists do's and don'ts of helping your child, ways to work in with school, and being an advocate for your child. ‘Looking forward to the future’ provides positive ways to affect your child’s destiny. Included where relevant are many comments from parents who are already dealing with the issues under discussion.

The authors’ use of sections from their previous books, which the child is likely to have already come across, entices the child to a deeper reading of this text. The list of books in Resources was adapted from Understanding LD, by S McMurchie. While plainer in visual effects than other efforts published for the child/ adolescent market, it is easy to read and has a cartoon at the start of each chapter. The resources section provides an example of a comprehensive and detailed individualised education program (IEP). It goes onto list a wide range books for children and an index. Sections regarding organisations and books about career and college planning are rather American oriented. At the time of printing (1995) Gary Fisher was the director of the Addiction Training Centre and Professor with the University of Nevada. Rhoda Cummings is also employed by the University of Nevada as a Professor of special education.

Galbraith, J. (1984). The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: for Ages 10 & Under. Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 70pgs. ISBN 091-579-301-6.
This book is written specifically for gifted children from seven to ten years of age to help them understand giftedness and why others tease them. Chapters explain IQ, designer genes coping with teasing, and making and keeping friends. Other chapters discuss ways to keep cool at school, what to do when you are bored silly, tips to handle high expectations and perfectionism. Judy Galbraith also explains the six great gripes of gifted children, which is bound to hit a note with the intended reader. Specific sections explode myths about gifted girls and old-fashioned ideas we can kiss goodbye.

A visually stimulating book for children under ten years of age with an appendix supplying a list of 'Mind Expanding Magazines' many of which are available in public libraries. The recommended reading list and gifted organisations sections are somewhat limited and do not provide websites. Judy Galbraith is a well known author of books regarding gifted children including another survival guide for teenagers

Galbraith, J. &. Deisle. J. (1996). The Gifted Kid's Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook: Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 295pgs. ISBN 157-542-003-1.
Authors Galbraith and Delisle state the aim of this book is to write for gifted teenagers, not about them. They emphasise that in order for teenagers to take charge of their schooling and life, they must be prepared to work hard to effect positive change. The authors then proceed to show how to implement these changes, by re-educating their parents and teachers. Also the text aims to help parents and teachers understand gifted teenagers and to respect their points of view. Set out in seven main sections, discussion initially centres around being gifted, what it means, myths, the learning disabled and what this means to the teenager. “Intelligence” explains intelligence theories and includes a section on frequently asked questions about intelligence and giftedness. “IQ Test and testing” discusses exactly what testing does and doesn’t reveal and what happens when tests fail. “Taking charge of your life” discusses important questions of perfectionism, the value of mistakes, goal setting, stress, and gender and ethical issues. This chapter is quite comprehensive and starts with 'Who is school for?', ending in 'The benefits of taking a break'. ‘Relationships’ begins with friends, moves on to teasing and concludes with 'How to talk to parents'. “On being a teenager” tackles subjects such as teenage angst, lies, suicide, sex and death.

A stimulating gifted children’s survival guide which will appeal to the teen market. This book abounds with cartoons, quotes and bold-printed headings, bullet pointed sections and many real-life examples. Galbraith and Delisle include a survey for teenagers to complete and send in to help with newer editions of this text. “Additional resources” supplies names of relevant children’s magazines and websites. Finally a section entitled 'Additional permissions and credits' would appear to refer to articles within the book. It then goes on to provide a comprehensive index. Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle have written many books about and for gifted children publishing through Free Spirit Publishing.

Walker, Sally Yankee. (1991). The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child: Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, USA. 137pgs. ISBN 091-579-328-8.
Publisher Judy Galbraith states this survival guide, written by Sally Walker, has evolved out of requests by parents wanting their own definitive survival guide for raising gifted children. This text is written in a non-scholarly fashion with lots of plain English explanations about such subjects as the bell curve, perfectionism, underachieving and the origins and application of 'giftedness' as a concept. Chapters One and Two discuss 'giftedness then and now', and 'what makes gifted kids so special?’. Chapters Three and Four discuss many issues of living and bringing up these children including ways of coping and staying in touch. Chapters Five and Six relate to schooling and advocacy. While this book is aimed at the American market many of the ideas can be incorporated into the New Zealand environment. Finally a section of frequently-asked questions entitled '15 questions parents ask - and 14 and a half answers’ gives practical, reassuring advice to parents.

This is another visually appealing book from Free Spirit publishing, which utilises bullet-points, semi- boxed information and bold headings. An index is provided and the bibliography listed on page 127 onwards is organised under chapter headings. Many of the books in the recommended reading section have been entered into this annotated bibliography. Sally Walker understands a parent’s viewpoint, being the mother of three gifted teenagers herself. 'The eight great gripes of parents with gifted kids' needs to be photocopied and placed on the fridge door! Walker has gained an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling, also going on to do post-graduate work in the areas of gifted education, parent education and early childhood education. Sally Yankee Walker has utilised this knowledge as co-ordinator of Gifted Services in Illinois, helping to implement gifted programs and teacher training in the Rockford area.