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Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child's Learning Problems Hardcover – April 13, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From educational psychologist Healey (Your Child's Growing Mind) comes a parents' guide to learning disorders and the positive steps to avoid or reverse problems accompanying a child's diagnosis. Defining a learning problem as any innate or acquired characteristic that consistently interferes with one or more aspects of learning, Healey explains that the way a brain is wired accounts for disorders in language arts and math, social and personal organizational skills, and motor and sensory abilities. Whether a development problem becomes a disability (and if medication is appropriate) depends on its severity and expectations made of a child at a given age. Healey provides a very hands-on guide with anecdotal case studies, the latest brain science research data made comprehensible, and plenty of bulleted checklists covering symptoms, action steps, and advice. The first part focuses on the problems and possibilities for dys-sed kids; the second part presents the scientific how-and-why of juvenile brain function, the role of genetics, and intelligence and learning styles; the third offers proven techniques and remedies for destressing kids and their environments by limiting distracting or disruptive lifestyle factors. Every chapter features plenty of subheads and pullout questions or quotes, which make the pages visually accessible and help sustain interest in what could be an overwhelming topic. This is a ready reference parents will welcome. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Different Learners is a fantastic book for both parents and teachers for helping children who have learning difficulties to excel and achieve.”

—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and The Way I See It

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416556419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416556411
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rodger Shepherd on June 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a former pediatrician, and I also have a grandchild with learning problems. I was hoping that this book would provide me with a better understanding of learning problems in children. Unfortunately I found this book so frustrating to read that I gave up on page 99.

The book struck me as a mixture of soft science, personal experience, annecdotes, speculation, "expert opinion", and name dropping. I suspect that, to a large extent, this reflects the state the art.(The discussion of diagnostic classification clearly reveals a field of investigation that is groping for clarity.) However, the book is further burdened with a writing style that is disorganized. For example, if there was some logic to the use of rubrics, italics, and other editorial devices, it escaped me. The author frequently refers the reader to her other books, a habit that struck me as evasive and self-serving. I also found it strange that a book so clearly aimed at parents of children with learning difficulties would include advice about prenatal prevention. I could understand a discussion about prenatal causes of learning problems since this might provide some insight into the origins of the problem confronting the reader. However, I doubt that the typical reader appreciates the rambling digression into prevention of the learning problems at a time when he or she is trying to cope with an existing one.

I suspect that the author is a marvelous and caring clinician, but I do not find her science or her writing rigorous.
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Format: Hardcover
In some ways, Different Learners (especially the second half of it) is the instruction manual many parents wish their newborns came with. It describes very specific steps parents can take to help their children make the most of their intellectual potential. It explains why children who don't fit the standard learning mold should not be treated as if they have an "illness" with a collection of "symptoms" that need to be "diagnosed" and "cured" with a pill.

Instead, Healy views children as whole beings who are a product of both nature and nurture. She explains that trouble in school can stem from a variety of sources, which may be inherited, or may be caused and/or aggravated by a too-stressed, too-busy, too-distracted, too-unstructured 21st century lifestyle. In other words, little Billy may have inherited a tendency toward distractibility from his father, but his parents can still guide him toward intellectual and academic success through solid, common-sense parenting techniques such as seriously restricting video games and enforcing consistent bedtimes. Different Learners lays out very clearly, and with plenty of supporting scientific evidence, a host of similarly effective techniques.

I highly recommend this book for all parents interested in helping their children achieve balanced, intellectually and emotionally satisfying lives throughout and beyond their school years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jane Healy has done it again! Given parents and teachers a far-reaching, yet specific guide to support children's optimal development and learning. As in her now classic book, Endangered Minds, Healy delivers a comprehensive, user-friendly read in her latest book, Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Helping Your Children's Learning Problems.

It's sobering to think that a child born in the United States has a 30 percent chance of being diagnosed with some type of learning problem. That about 2.5 million children take prescription drugs for attention and hyperactivity. That there are seven million children currently enrolled in special education with autism on the rise by 800% over the last decade. Beginning by describing the extent of the challenges, Dr. Healy shows us that there truly exists today a new epidemic of learning problems affecting children from across all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum. In her typical no-nonsense prose, the reader clearly understands the most current research, often through vivid examples from parents and succinct quotes from compelling experts.

The book considers different categories of learning disorders and/or learning differences with a review of the research on a variety of successful treatments. Healy then turns to the "heart" of the book--discussing how genetics and the environment interact to impact brain development. She emphasizes that a difference often doesn't mean a disability. Instead, Healy demonstrates the role of the environment in shaping a child's brain and simultaneously his/her learning skills. We emphasize the home environment as an important factor at the Parent Coaching Institute, ([...]) as anyone who has been coached by a PCI Certified Parent Coach® knows.
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Format: Hardcover
I was looking for a book on learning differences to explore ways to help our 6 year old who seems to have an attention problem. Different Learners was so intriguing and helpful I found myself wanting to purchase a copy to re-read and mark up (I borrowed it from the library). This books shows how our genetics can be shaped by our environment, and provides practical ideas for managing our environments (what we eat, how much and what kind of media we're subjected to and from what age, how much sleep we get at each age, what toxins we're exposed to). At the same time she covers all these topics, what she writes doesn't feel overwhelming or overly prescriptive. I'm not throwing out our plastic cups and the TV set yet! But it is VERY interesting stuff on how our brain develops and how we can influence its development (and work with differences).

Healy provides case studies, cites scientific research and gives "laundry lists" related to each topic that are helpful summaries of each key part of the book. One piece of information/wisdom that got me thinking about our son is that some experts suggest that any child with attention disorders should undergo a sleep study. This is something I'm going to follow-up on with our son who is a noisy sleeper and a seemingly very deep sleeper - but I have to wonder if he's getting the right amount of REM sleep that would maximize his capacity to pay attention and be "plugged in" during the day.
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