The Shallows Book Reviews Welcome to

Kathy Kuhl’s Reviews of Books on Helping Children with Learning or Attention Difficulties

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Earlier Reviews

Raise Your Child's Social IQ

Raise Your Child's Social IQ by Cathi Cohen, L.C.S.W.

Advantage Books. © 2000. 244 pages. ISBN 978-0-9660366-8-8.

Raise Your Child’s Social I.Q. guides parents to help develop their children’s social skills. A mother and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with fifteen years of experience running a mental health practice and counseling children and adolescents, Cohen has written a clear, practical book to help us apply the principles she developed to teach social skills. This book helps you take the core principles of her Stepping Stones social skills program and carry it into your children’s lives at home and in the community.

Though not written for homeschoolers, this approach is easy to apply to homeschool. While our homeschooled children are not surrounded by peers all day, we can use these techniques to teach skills to practice in homeschool group settings, at the playground, and in the family. While Raise Your Child’s Social I.Q. was not written for children with learning difficulties, it concludes with a thoughtful sixteen page afterword, “For Parents of Children with Special Needs,” which recognizes our special challenges. The afterword specifically addresses attention deficit disorder, non-verbal learning disability, and Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism, but children with other conditions can benefit from this program, too.

Knowing we can’t fix everything at once, Cohen divided this book into ten chapters, beginning with more basic skills:
Each chapter begins with a couple examples of children needing this chapter’s social skill, followed by a short quiz to help you decide if this skill is one your child needs to develop. (You needn’t wait until your child perfects one skill before moving to the next chapter, the author reassures us.) Next comes a discussion of that skill and what it includes. For example, in Chapter 2, on Communicating and Conversing, Cohen explains how to teach making good eye contact, practicing active listening, using a pleasant tone of voice, and respecting other people’s personal space. Cartoons, checklists, charts, games, and logs show you how to understand, explain, and help your child practice skills and track progress. The large print, headings, and layout make the book easy to use.

I recommend this book.

If you click on the link below to order a copy, Amazon will send a small portion of the price to help defray the expenses of this website and newsletter. Thank you.

See also Cathi Cohen’s website for her mental health practice.

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Mislabeled Child

The Mislabeled Child: Looking Beyond Behavior to Find the True Sources—and Solutions—for Children's Learning Challenges by Brock Eide, M.D., M.A., and Fernette Eide, M.D.

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

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: