Read an exclusive extract from ‘The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties’ by Veronica Bidwell


Packed full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, this book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs).

Covering a spectrum of SpLDs, ranging from poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia, through to ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), auditory processing disorder (APD), specific language impairment and visual processing disorder, it explains clearly what each difficulty is, how it can affect a child’s learning and how to help them to succeed despite their difficulties.

“A treasure trove of useful information and practical advice for the parents of children with Specific Learning Difficulties and anyone who teaches them… It really is a must-have.” -Claudine Goldingham BA LLB (Dist.), a dyslexic and mother of two dyslexic and dyspraxic girls

Click here to download the extract

2016 Dementia Catalogue – New & Bestselling Titles

Take a look at our latest Dementia Catalogue. For more information on any of the titles, or to purchase a book, go to

Sign up here to receive a free copy of the catalogue in the post or via email.

Yoga breathing exercise for foster carers, adopters and their families – Andrea Warman

Lark-Warman_Caring-with-Vit_978-1-84905-664-9_colourjpg-printYoung Royals Kate, William and Harry promoted the Heads Together charity earlier this week with a campaign encouraging people to talk about mental health and to find practical, everyday ways to help. During Foster Care Fortnight it seems fitting to think about the wellbeing of carers who risk  becoming stressed, anxious or depressed. Yoga and other mind/body practices can help – and they don’t all require being super-fit or flexible. It all begins with good breathing, so try this simple exercise from our book Caring With Vitality – Yoga and Wellbeing for Foster Carers, Adopters and Their Families.

Breathing holds the key

‘If you breathe well, you will live long on the earth.’

Yoga is not just about the physical asanas (postures). In fact, it is learning and practising a different way to breathe that will revitalise you even more than doing the poses.

All too often we become used to taking quick, shallow breaths (into our chests rather than our bellies), without making full use of all our breathing muscles, or our full lung capacity. If we carry on with this ‘bad’ breathing, the result can be physical tension and a whole range of other health problems. Continue reading

Read an extract from The Autism Spectrum Guide to Sexuality and Relationships by Dr Emma Goodall


Dr Emma Goodall’s excellent new book The Autism Spectrum Guide to Sexuality and Relationships: Understand Yourself and Make Choices that are Right for You is a candid guide to sexuality, relationships and gender identity that will help adults on the autism spectrum to understand their preferences and identity in the pursuit of platonic, romantic or sexual relationships. In this extract Dr Goodall introduces the idea of what sexuality might look and feel like for someone with autism.

Click on this link to read the extract >>>  Understanding Your Own Sexuality – Goodall

The Autism Spectrum Guide to Sexuality and Relationships by Dr Emma Goodall is available now from Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Paolo Hewitt describes the talk he gave about growing up in Burbank Children’s Home

Hewitt_But-We-All-Shin_978-1-84905-583-3_colourjpg-printPaolo Hewitt, author of But We All Shine On and The Looked After Kid, was in Woking last week, the town of the children’s home in which he grew up, to give a talk about his experience in care, and how his personal journey as an adult to discover whatever happened to his close childhood friends led him to write these two, highly moving and inspirational books.

As soon as I walked into the room the nerves kicked in. I had been fine up until that point but the sight of maybe 100 people ready to hear me read and talk about my time in care switched the dial.

It was then I recalled some advice given to me many years ago before a similar event. I was told there was no reason to be nervous. People who were there to hear me read were on my side. They were not against me, they were for me; they wanted to see me succeed. The crowd was not hostile; they were onside. So why be afraid? Continue reading

We talked to Veronica Bidwell about her new book, ‘The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties’

Bidwell_Parents-Guide-t_978-1-78592-040-0_colourjpg-printPacked full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, this book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs).  We talked to Veronica about how she came to write the book, about her long experience as an Educational Psychologist, and what advice she has for parents whose child has an SpLD. 

What inspired you to write this book?

I always wanted a book that I could give to parents which they could use for reference.  I wanted a book that would explain the various learning difficulty labels, and one that would provide advice and support.  It has been difficult to find such a book, so I decided to write it myself.

For most parents it can be really daunting to find that their child has a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) and that they will need to roll up their sleeves and get to work.  Unlike teachers and other educational professionals, parents have had no training.  It can be hard for them to know where to start.

Parents need guidance.  My hope is that this book will be of help.  I hope it will provide encouragement and that the stories included will inspire optimism. Continue reading

Shibley Rahman talks about his book, Living Better with Dementia


Identifying current global policy challenges for living well with dementia, this book tackles controversial topics at the forefront of public and political debate, and highlights pockets of innovation and good practice from around the world to inform practical solutions for living well with dementia in the future. We talked to Dr Rahman about the book and his thoughts on the current process of dementia diagnosis. 

What motivated you to write Living Better with Dementia?

The name of the only national dementia strategy for England so far was ‘Living well with dementia’. This name is problematic, as it potentially sets people up to fail. What if a person has a bad day? We’re all entitled to have a bad day.

The actual strategy expired in 2014, exactly five years after it was launched by a previous government in 2009. I wanted to keep with the ethos that it is possible to aspire to live as well as possible with dementia. The prism of long term conditions suits people with dementia much better than the approach which relies solely on drug treatments.

The title of the book, Living Better with Dementia, is in fact from Chris Roberts, living with mixed dementia of the Alzheimer type and vascular type. I am honoured that Chris wrote one of the forewords. Kate Swaffer, Chair of Dementia Alliance International, wrote the main foreword.

There has to be an alignment of rhetoric and reality. That’s why I respect the work of Beth Britton who wrote the final foreword. Beth has an intimate lived experience of dementia from family, and professional experience in how this impacts on actual care. The topics of my book give a realistic state-of-the-art exploration of key themes in wellbeing in dementia, not entrenched in dogma, but which promote awareness and education.

What advice could you give to those who are caring for someone with dementia?

Above all, I think it’s crucial to see the individual person – his or her past as well as current beliefs, concerns and expectations – beyond the label of a medical diagnosis of dementia. The diagnosis itself can have a marked effect on identity, and the approach should be one of trying to promote as fulfilling a life as possible. This is called ‘enablement’. I don’t think dementia care is solely a healthcare system issue, though there are some caveats. Firstly, people with dementia do also have other medical health issues, both physical and mental, and it’s important they’re identified and managed regardless of care setting (e.g. home, care home, hospital or hospice). Carers have complementary needs too, including ‘coping strategies’, which need addressing, and Admiral nurses are especially relevant here.

Secondly, the entire ecosystem should be revved up to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for people with dementia and their significant others, including close friends and family. Such dementia inclusive communities, with national programmes such as Dementia Friends, are an important first step.

Finally, there needs to be an acceptance in care that dementia is a terminal illness, and this has consequences for the organisation and for care services, such that people with dementia have equitable access to palliative services too.

What changes would you like to see to the current process of dementia diagnosis?

We are, overall, in a better place compared to where we were in England regarding dementia diagnosis. The issue back in 2009 was a massive diagnosis gap, which has successfully been closed in subsequent years through the collaborative efforts of greater societal awareness and substantial proactive work from the medical profession. Whilst the timing of the diagnosis has to be sensitive, and also given in a timely way and appropriately person-centred, there’s no doubt there is little benefit for people languishing without diagnosis. The lack of better pharmacological treatments for the 100+ different types of dementia should not promote an attitude of living with rather than dying from dementia.

However, I’d say the two particular under-addressed issues in the diagnosis policy is making sure that we have better recognition of people with dementia which comes on before the age of 65. This is defined as ‘young onset dementia’, and tends to be a set of conditions which quite often do not present initially with memory problems. We therefore need to up-skill an already stressed workforce, including primary care and GPs.

The second issue is making sure we have equity of diagnosis from people from all communities, including black Asian and minority ethnic communities, as well as people from other backgrounds, including LBGT sexuality.

You’re an active member of the dementia community. What do you have planned for the coming months?

 I am currently writing my second book on the ‘hot’ topic of integrated care of dementia in England, including care at home, hospices and hospitals. This is an issue often referred to as ‘right time, right care, right place’, and is a very relevant issue given where NHS England currently finds itself. The book will draw on best practice from other jurisdictions, however.

Any final thoughts for our readers?

 Do not view dementia as an issue irrelevant to you. In fact, most people know someone living with dementia, or at least someone who knows someone with dementia. Take part in activities such as Dementia Friends beyond Dementia Awareness Week, but also acknowledge the needs of carers, supported through organisations such as tide (together in dementia everyday). Above all, learn as much as you can about dementia, from anyone, from anywhere. Some of it will be rubbish, but you’ll soon get a feel for what reliable sources of information are. I believe, essentially, a massive step forward for dementia is, as somebody else might put it, “education, education, education”.


You can find out more information or buy the book, Living Better with Dementia, here.

Follow Dr Rahman on Twitter here.

Supporting children with attachment difficulties in school – Nicola Marshall

Marshall_Teachers-Introd_978-1-84905-550-5_colourjpg-printIn this article, Nicola Marshall, author of The Teacher’s Introduction to Attachment, reflects upon the role schools play in supporting children with attachment issues, and how they can improve their education experience.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week at the moment with a focus on relationships, so I thought I’d use this theme as an opportunity to talk about children with attachment issues, and how schools can improve the level of emotional support they receive.

As an adoptive parent who runs a practice training teachers on attachment and why it matters, I have gained many years of insight into the highly pressured, results-driven environment that our education system increasingly imposes upon our schools today.

I’m very aware that for ‘typical’ children who have the love and support of at least one of their parents, school and the pressures of grades and exams can be overwhelming too.  But for children with attachment difficulties, the expectancy to perform well in school only compounds the numerous emotional problems that they are already facing.

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A learning resource from ‘Being Me (and Loving It): Stories and Activities to Help Build Self-esteem in Children’

Richards-Hague_Being-Me-and-Lo_978-1-84905-713-4_colourjpg-printDownload an activity-based learning resource from Naomi Richards’ and Julia Hague’s new book Being Me (and Loving It); it includes a story about a boy named Noah for students to read, notes for the educator to guide the lesson, as well as other follow-up activities.

With 29 real-life and relatable stories at its heart, Being Me (and Loving It) is designed for teachers, youth workers, educators and parents supporting children aged 5-11.  Each inspiring story is the focus of a ready-to-use lesson plan and covers the most common self-esteem and body image issues affecting children today, and provides advice on how to support them.  The stories can either be read aloud or photocopied and shared for individual reading.  It is an ideal resource for use in PSHE lessons or in one-to-one settings, including at home.

Click here to access the resource

An interview with Kathy Hoopmann & J.S Kiss, authors of the award-winning childrens novel Elemental Island


Elemental Island is the first written collaboration between bestselling author of Blue Bottle Mystery & All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome Kathy Hoopmann & exciting new JKP author (Judit) J.S Kiss. In this interview for the JKP Blog they discuss challenging the stereotypes around autism, bridging the gap between mainstream and special ed and winning the Silver Nautilus Award for middle-grade fiction.

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