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Here are some “new and improved” versions of books we’ve reviewed and recommended in the past.
School Success for Kids with High-Functioning Autism
By Stephan M. Silverman, Lauren Kenworthy, and Rich Weinfeld
Prufrock Press (2014)
This book, aimed at parents and teachers, is an update of the 2007 publication School Success for Kids with Asperger’s Syndrome. This revised version was necessitated by the release of the DSM-5, the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In this edition, the DSM no longer lists different subcategories, such as Asperger Syndrome, within autism. To address any confusion that may have resulted from this change, the authors have devised their own terminology for use in their book, which they explain this way:
…this book refers to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) generally and high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) specifically to indicate the presence of social deficits and repetitive, inflexible behaviors in a person with normal or high intelligence and good basic vocabulary, sentence structure, and comprehension of language.
In this new edition, authors Silverman and Weinfeld have joined forces with a third author, an educator and researcher in the neuropsychology of autism. Also new to this version is a forward by Temple Grandin and updates made to reflect advances in understanding ASD since the first edition came out.
The early chapters of the book cover the basics of high-functioning autism, including how to recognize it and how a diagnosis is made. In addition, the authors discuss the strengths and challenges that children with this diagnosis are likely to display, both in and out of the classroom; and they provide strategies for building on the strengths and coping with the challenges.
Many of the later chapters focus on school, discussing how to address the needs of the HFASD student by developing an individualized intervention plan and by following best practices. At the back of the book, readers will find useful resources, including checklists and quick reference guides.
Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential (2nd Edition)
By Rich Weinfeld, Linda Barnes-Robinson, Sue Jeweler, and Betty Roffman Shevitz
Prufrock Press (2013)
The first edition of this book for parents and educators came out in 2006. Last year this team of authors reconvened to update the book to reflect changes in thinking about who twice-exceptional students are and what they need, as well as changes in areas such as research findings, trends in education, laws, policies, and technology.
What the authors have kept in this second edition is the structure of the book, organized into chapters that answer these five questions:
1. Who are these kids?
2. How do we find them?
3. What needs to be done for them and who is responsible?
4. What do good programs and services for these kids look like?
5. What actions ensure that these students will overcome their learning difficulties?
The information contained in these chapters is distilled into a useful tool described as a “road map.” This flowchart shows the path that parents, educators, and students follow from noticing that a bright child is struggling in school, through the identification process, and eventually to an outcome that can lead to success for the child.
Other useful tools that the authors have retained from the earlier version are forms and checklists at the end of each chapter, along with tips for using them effectively. What they’ve added are chapter summaries in the form of key points that help readers focus on the essential ideas in each chapter.
Readers who are raising or educating bright kids with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, or other learning difficulties will find this book a clearly written and useful resource. The authors encourage readers to use it to “create plans of action to implement successful instructional opportunities, programs, and services” for these kids.
Teaching Teens with ADD, ADHD & Executive Function Deficits: A Quick Reference Guide for Teachers and Parents (2nd Edition)
By Chris A. Zeigler Dendy
Woodbine House (2011)
A past 2e Newsletter review of the 2000 edition of this book stated that author Chris Dendy “is a former teacher and parent of children with ADHD. She has drawn on this background to create an invaluable resource that educators, parents, and teens themselves can use to understand and cope with attention deficit disorder.”
The same holds true of this second edition. Plus, of interest to readers of this newsletter, the author has added information about gifted children with ADHD. Other additions to the book include expanded information on the impact that executive function deficits have on individuals with ADHD and updates on brain research related to the disorder.
Despite the title, Dendy offers a wealth of information for both teachers and parents. Topics, organized into over 80 concise summaries, range from social issues, to organization and time management, to teaching and learning strategies, to medication issues. She provides insight into the struggles that students with ADHD typically have with math and writing, and provides practical strategies to help overcome these problems. She also devotes a section of the book to federal laws that govern the education of students with attention deficit disorder
Throughout the book Dendy provides lists of resources, and at the back of the book are many checklists and blank forms suitable for photocopying. With this reference guide, teachers and parents have much of the information they need to provide support to students of all ages with ADHD and to help them be successful.