Looking Beyond Behavior to Find the True Sources—and Solutions—for Children’s Learning Challenges

Hyperion, 2007. 510 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4013-0899-5

Review by Kathy Kuhl

Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide have tackled a tough task: explaining many different kinds of learning problems in clear language with practical advice. The result is impressive. If the size—over 500 pages—puts you off, relax. This is a book you can dip into, a useful manual to help you understand your child and how to teach that child more effectively.

Why Mislabeled Child? The Eides address this in their first sentence with a Chinese proverb, “The beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right name.” Labels, the Eides tell us, shape our thoughts. We must not, they warn us, equate a child with a label. “Statements like, ‘He’s ADHD,’ or ‘She’s Aspergers’ leave too much unsaid,” (pp. 5-6). They keep us from seeing strengths, tempt us to see the child as diseased, to ignore the effects of the educational environment, or to overlook the child’s character, temperament, home, and parents. The first chapter ends by explaining how they use labels in the book.

The second chapter, “How to Get the Most Out of This Book,” introduces basic concepts and the book’s structure. After a brief introduction, each chapter discusses a different problem four ways. “Behaviors” is the section to skim if you aren’t sure this chapter applies to your child. Next, the Eides explain causes of the problem. The “Evaluating” section explains how this condition is diagnosed. Finally, under “Helping,” the authors outline ways to help a child strengthen areas of weakness, work around them, or compensate for them.

The next chapter, on memory, is a vital part of the book. Memory problems are closely wrapped up with many learning problems.

In the remaining ten chapters, the authors explore:

  • Visual problems,
  • Auditory problems,
  • Language problems,
  • Attention problems,
  • Autism and autism-like disorders,
  • Sensory processing disorder,
  • Dyslexia,
  • Dysgraphia,
  • Math problems in children, and
  • How giftedness can cause learning challenges.

I highly recommend The Mislabeled Child as a resource to keep handy. See link below:

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