Succeeding with LD*: 20 True Stories about Real People with LD*

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9781414038391: Succeeding with LD*: 20 True Stories about Real People with LD*

Twenty talented, successful people with LD tell their own stories in this inspiring book. Some are famous (one received a MacArthur Foundation Award), most are not, but all are positive role models for people with or without LD. B&W photos.

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About the Author:

Jill Lauren is an expert in the areas of reading and writing. She is a consultant for the learning disabled and is in a private practice for educational remediation.

Review:

This collection of 20 short profiles relates the struggles and accomplishments of people with learning disabilities. They talk about their specific difficulty and how it was diagnosed. They recount their best and worst memories of school, describe how they succeeded and failed, and acknowledge the assistance and support (or lack of) that they received. Questions generated by the narrative appear in the margins for readers to think about and to apply to their own situations. The participants come from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds and are equally divided by gender; they range in age from 10 to 62. Each easy-to-read story is three to five pages long and is accompanied by a blurry black-and-white photograph. The book ends with a section of questions and answers about LD; 10 tips to succeed; a bibliography for students that contains books, recordings, and video tapes; and lists of resources for adults and organizations to contact for further information. The stories, while repetitious, will nonetheless be inspirational and motivational to young people with LD. --School Library Journal

Hailed in 1997, when it was first published, as inspirational and described as profiles in courage, Succeeding with LD is now newly expanded. In this edition, Jill Lauren, an LD specialist, tells the stories of people with learning differences in their own words, then revisits them ten years later. Her subjects range widely in age, background, and talents from a 10-year-old skater in Massachusetts, who had trouble in math and language arts but a love of social studies and science, to a 62-year-old artist from Virginia and Florida, who struggled with reading and writing. They talk about good experiences and bad, the teachers who helped and those who hurt them. Each has a best and worst school memory and final words of advice. Teachers, parents and therapists can share these upbeat biographies with students as young as 10 and as old as the oldest contributors.

The book was inspired by one of Lauren s resource room students, who confided that she felt stupid. When she learned that famous people (Tom Cruise, Thomas Edison, Cher) also had learning disabilities, the girl was shocked. This should be a book! she said. Laurent took that to heart and began looking for people with LD who could speak about working hard to enhance their self-esteem. She points to research showing that success in other areas gives children the strength to take risks in academics. Revisiting her subjects ten years later, she found a level of confidence based on their past achievements, a powerful reminder, she writes in her Introduction, that we must find ways to help all LD students experience a sense of success and pride, both in and out of school.

The frank catch-up interviews for this new edition, published by Star Bright Books in August, show how LD continues to affect people s lives and what strategies they use to work around it. In his Message to Parents and Teachers , Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founder and director of the N.Y.U. Child Study Center, identifies threads that run through all the stories: strong support from parents, teachers, ad other adults, resiliency, and people s ability to identify their problems, while they also recognized and utilized their strengths.

As we meet them again, these people are recognizable from their earlier selves, displaying the same variety of goals and talents, as well as some of the same issues. It takes me longer to read than most people, says Gavin, who also takes pride in his tremendous aptitude for business. I reply on the strength that helped in school: my ability to communicate with people. Their present careers are also widely varied, including office worker, physician, business person, college student, pet groomer, and lawyer. A few have achieved prominence (Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko s, paleontologist Jack Horner, who won a MacArthur Award); most are just real people. --International Dyslexic Association

Lauren recounts the stories of 26 individuals, ranging in age from 10 to 61, who have effectively dealt with their learning differences and become successful in their chosen fields. Each first-person narrative describes the learning difficulties encountered, explains the school problems they caused, and details the strategies that helped the people to move beyond those obstacles. Many attended special schools for a few years; all have learned to advocate on their own behalf. Several of those profiled, including Kinko founder Paul Orfalea and paleontologist Jack Horner, may be familiar to readers. The tone is upbeat but realistic, with Lauren emphasizing the enormous effort needed to accomplish goals. Appended with a question-and-answer section, tips for success, and lists of resources, this will be a welcome addition to any collection serving young teens. --Booklist

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