The Pretenders: Gifted People Who Have Difficulty Learning

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9781892696069: The Pretenders: Gifted People Who Have Difficulty Learning
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What would you do if, no matter how hard you tried, you could not learn to read? Would you continue to try or would you resign yourself to pretending, for the benefit of others, that you could read? The Pretenders tells the stories of eight people who never stopped trying. From humiliation in school and the anxiety of coping with everyday life unable to read street signs and menus, to shopping, driving, and working, these people lived in a world of dashed hopes and dreams regardless of outward appearances. With help from Dr. Barbara Guyer, they discovered their learning disabilities and unlocked their true gifts.

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About the Author:

Barbara Priddy Guyer, Ed.D. grew up in Richmond, Virginia, where she attended the public schools. Her experiences at Virginia Commonwealth University instilled in her a great love of teaching that she has never lost.

During her career, Dr. Guyer has taught grades two through six, remedial reading, learning disability classes, and reading to inmates in a women's prison in Virginia. She has also been a supervisor of special education, a principal of two learning disability centers, and has coordinated the learning disabilities graduate program at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia since 1975. She began the H.E.L.P. (Higher Education for Learning Problems) Program in 1981 as a support for undergraduate students with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and other learning disabilities.

Dr. Guyer and her husband, Dr. Kenneth E. Guyer, have two daughters, Greta and Jennifer. Through them, she has gained an understanding of learning problems from a parent's perspective.

Review:

The Pretenders comes at a particularly opportune time, a time when the very possibility of a reading disability in highly gifted individuals is often questioned and frequently misunderstood. What Dr. Guyer has accomplished in this simple, graceful, and highly accessible volume is to make the notion of reading disability and its consequences for the individual, for his or her family, for educators and for society, come to life. The reader will be deeply moved, as I was, after meeting and reading about these diverse individuals. -- From the Foreword by Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., Yale University School of Medicine

The Pretenders conveys a deep understanding of the challenges of dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Family members, friends, and especially teachers will find this book enlightening and rewarding. -- Gaston Caperton, Governor of West Virginia

The Pretenders will offer inspiration and hope for students starting down this difficult path toward growth and success. It will also help parents, educators, and health and mental health professionals to understand the emotional pain and academic struggles caused by unrecognized learning disabilities. -- Larry B. Silver, M.D., Director of Training in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Georgetown University

Barbara Guyer is one of the truly special people in the world, and this is an equally special book. The Pretenders conveys a telling lesson about the need to deal with special children with greater creativity and sensitivity. This is an important book for all those who love or care about children with special needs and abilities. -- Robert E. Shepherd Jr., Professor of Law, University of Richmond Law School

Positive, upbeat, written in plain English, The Pretenders creates a new glimmer of hope for all who are concerned about the declining effectiveness of our schools. With insight, sensitivity, and the wisdom gathered through unusually thorough training and years of classroom experience, Dr. Guyer gives clear explanations of why some of our current educational practices are perpetuating the very problems they are intended to solve. Her suggestions offer a new perspective on teaching techniques and classroom management. There is no question that the secrets she shares can lead all learners to a dramatically increased level of achievement.

Barbara Guyer is the master of straightforward solutions carried out with elegant simplicity. Readers will find a refreshing new approach to problem-solving as well as a vast array of specific, practical ideas for helping students resolve the difficulties that prevent them from succeeding in today's schools. Those committed to helping the functionally illiterate, non-readers, and poor readers will find encouragement and inspiration on every page. -- Suzanne H. Stevens, author of The Learning Disabled Child

Such a great idea for a book! I'm glad an educator of Barbara Guyer's caliber decided to write a follow-up to my study of children coping with learning difficulties. -- Mary MacCracken, author of Turnabout Children

The stories [in The Pretenders] tug emotional heartstrings. They make us joyful that these persevering young people are successful, but sad for the many who are not recognized, told they have no learning disabilities or ADHD, and that all they need to do is try harder or get their act together. (The knowledge of the author, and her warmth, are reflected in the writing.) As readers, we wish we could study with her, have our young or adult children work with her, or in some way have her wisdom rub off on us. -- Regina Cicci, Ph.D., reviewed in Perspectives, the magazine of The Orton Dyslexia Society

With its comfortable story-telling style and the variety of differences and strategies described, readers of The Pretenders will get explanations of why certain students need special help, feel empathy for learners who have struggled, and be enlightened by the hope that shines through each chapter. Dr. Barbara Guyer shares conversations and observations of eight students with learning differences who have crossed her path at many levels of her teaching career. She uncovers their cover-ups with masterful listening, responding, and guiding. She helps them push their positives, develop their perspectives, and find their possibilities. Had teachers read this book at their undergraduate level, they would have better understood their students and given them more appropriate help. With each sterling case she writes, Dr. Guyer gives us pause to ponder and hope for the future. -- Alice Koontz, Fellow, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners & Educators

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9780965374415: The Pretenders: Gifted People Who Have Difficulty Learning

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ISBN 10: 0965374416 ISBN 13: 9780965374415
Publisher: High Tide Press, 1997
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