JKP authors Judith and Carson Graves, authors of Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work, sat down with Michael Brian Murphy to discuss the new edition of NLD from the Inside Out. Offering invaluable advice for teenagers and young adults with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD), this book explains what NLD is, how to understand your NLD brain, and how to thrive socially and academically. The book also includes guidance for parents, teachers and therapists on the issues that people with NLD want them to know. NLD from the Inside Out is the only book to offer first-hand teen perspectives on NLD, combined with useful, practical advice.
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.
Browse our latest collection of books and resources in Special Educational Needs.
For more information on any of these titles go to www.jkp.com
We talked to Julia Hague about why her new book Being Me (and Loving It) is such a valuable resource for building self-esteem in kids. She discusses the common self-esteem and body image issues affecting children today, and provides advice on how to support them. Co-written by Naomi Richards (the UK’s number 1 kids coach), Being Me (and Loving It) includes 29 activity-based lesson plans designed for teachers, youth workers, educators and parents supporting children aged 5-11. Continue reading
In this exclusive Q&A, Nick Luxmoore shares what he’s learnt about helping young adults to cope with the trials and tribulations of sexuality. With nearly 40 years’ experience of working with young people, Nick’s book Horny and Hormonal provides advice on how to deal with the difficult situations faced by young people and strategies to help reduce their anxieties around this crucial and sensitive part of their lives.
14 years after the publication of his bestselling book Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome, Luke Jackson is back with the sequel, Sex, Drugs & Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD): A User Guide to Adulthood and you can read an extract from the book only on the JKP blog.
Jonathan Charlesworth is the Executive Director of the multi-award winning charity Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH), UK, and author of That’s So Gay! – Challenging Homophobic Bullying. With over thirty years’ teaching and training experience, he regularly delivers training and consultancy on homophobic bullying, harassment and crime to schools, colleges, universities, and the police service. In honour of LGBT History Month, Jonathan talks about how his book can help schools to address homophobic bullying, with examples of how some schools have already put strategies from the book into practice.
Author Marina Cantacuzino explains how a journalistic idea evolved into the charity The Forgiveness Project; dedicated to building understanding, encouraging reflection and enabling people to reconcile with pain and move forward from trauma in their own lives. Eventually, her work with the charity led to the publication of The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age – Marina explains how it came about and why she wanted to create a book from the stories she’d heard and the messages she’d learned.
Alicia Chodkiewicz, Child Development psychologist with over ten years’ experience supporting students both inside and outside of the classroom, and co-author of Believing You Can is the First Step to Achieving, shares her insight into some of the issues and solutions surrounding self-belief in students. You can also try out some free sessions from the book by downloading the extract at the end of this post.
Diana Hudson is a tutor and mentor to students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), as well as a subject classroom teacher (biology) and learning support teacher and SENCO. She has a diagnosis of dyslexia, and is a parent to four children, three of whom have been diagnosed with SpLD. We talked to her about the inspiration for her book Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, and she shares her advice for teachers on how to support children with SpLD’s.
- Tell us a little about your writing process. What inspired you to write the book?
I became aware of Specific Learning Difficulties because my children were diagnosed with dyslexia. As I supported their learning through school, I could identify the teachers who were helpful and proactive and gave the children confidence despite any difficulties. These teachers are remembered fondly to this day.
As a biology teacher I tried to encourage and help students with SpLD in my classes and to make my lessons multisensory and fun. I became the first SENCO at a high achieving academic school and I ran staff insets to help teachers understand students with SpLD better and to adapt teaching styles and materials to allow them to thrive. The booklet that I wrote for the insets became the basis for my book.
- Your many years of teaching must have provided you with extensive experience and knowledge. What kind of support for students with specific learning difficulties would you like to see more of in schools?
Early identification of SpLD makes a huge difference. People usually feel relieved if they are diagnosed and learn that they are not ‘stupid’ after all. Strategies can then be put in place in order to help them achieve their potential.
A designated adult mentor at school is a great support. It is important that students meet regularly with the mentor and can talk openly and confidently with them.
The mentor or SENCO should regularly pass on information and any teaching tips to the relevant teaching staff and listen to the teacher’s concerns. Tips could include simple changes such as reacting to the student’s preference for print on a particular coloured paper, preferred fonts and print size, use of technology, any friendship issues, and seating preferences. Everyone is different so these will vary.
Teachers should be aware of the student’s strengths and try to work with them, where possible to achieve the learning objective. Could they, for example, make a poster of a power point presentation rather than writing an essay? Celebrating success is an important step to improving confidence and aspirations.
Regular communication between the mentor or SENCO and the parents ensures the student knows that school and home are all working together.
- You have personally only recently been diagnosed with dyslexia, although you did struggle somewhat in school. You went on to gain a PhD in Zoology and have taught successfully for many years. How do you manage to cope with such a demanding workload? What are some of the techniques and tricks that you use?
I have learned to work hard and to be stubborn and tenacious if I have a goal in sight. I do not give up easily. I still make errors sometimes but I try to keep my sense of humour and sense of proportion and focus on moving forward counting them as learning experiences and not catastrophes.
Tricks I use for learning included mnemonics, silly rhymes, repetition, using colour and visual aids, trying to represent things with models. I sometimes make up phrases, poems or songs to fix facts. I record play lines or poems to learn them.
I have to be well prepared for teaching lessons and I always check key spellings in advance. I set off early for appointments to allow extra time to get lost.
I enjoy walking, acting and dancing and these hobbies help me to relax and keep a sense of balance.
- Your book aims to help teachers support students with learning difficulties better. Was there anyone that supported and mentored you while you were a student? What impact do you think this had on your experiences of studying?
I was at school at a time before dyslexia was really recognised or understood so I was in the class that was not expected to go to University having failed the 11+ exam.
I really have to thank my parents for their great support throughout my school and University days, they backed me and had faith in my ability and this helped build my confidence which was of key importance.
Some of my teachers rated my academic potential as poor but a few stood out as having higher expectations of me. They recognised my skills and potential and tried to help me to work round difficulties and would spend time with me individually. I was nervous and afraid of some teachers so I really valued those who were cheerful, smiled, and I felt safe with.
Once at University my professor was very kind and a few of the lecturers helped me individually.
My PhD supervisor was excellent.
- What do you think is the most common misunderstanding about specific learning difficulties?
That people with SpLD they are unintelligent, careless or not interested.
Some feel that they are merely used as an excuse to get extra time in exams.
- What is the number one thing you hope teachers will take away from your book?
That SpLD’s are real and cause anguish. A teacher who listens, is sympathetic, supportive and cheerful can makes a huge difference to the life, outlook and prospects of a student with SpLD.
If you want to know more about identifying and supporting students with SpLD’s, check out Diana’s book here.
You can also watch a video of Diana speaking about the topic here.