Reviewed by Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
With more than 20 years of experience in the Gifted/Learning Disabled Program in Montgomery County, Maryland, four educators have collaborated to create a brilliant work that “guides parents and educators toward identifying and planning for these bright underachieving kids so that they will reach their true potential.” (page 2) Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential is the result. This well organized collection of research, vignettes and practical strategies by authors Rich Weinfeld, Linda Barnes-Robinson, Sue Jeweler and Betty Roffman Shevitz, fulfills its intended purpose as a guidebook of sorts for parents and educators of smart kids with learning difficulties.
Smart Kids begins with an explanation of the population addressed in the book. At the beginning of each section, the authors clearly state the goal of the chapter and whom is likely to find the information most useful. The book goes on to offer logical ideas for successful screening of smart kids with learning difficulties and best practices for serving them and who is responsible for doing so. The writers conclude with the optimistic aspect of students with learning difficulties successfully pursuing a post secondary education. What defines Smart Kids as a guide is its “Tips, Tools, and Supplementary Materials” available at the end of each section. These ready-to-use and reproducible resources adapt for teacher, parent and student use.
“Through training, collaborative formulation of education plans, ongoing communication, and evaluation, you, your child, and his educators will come together to make wise decisions regarding appropriate adaptations, accommodations, programs, and instruction.” (page 172) The authors of Smart Kids drive home the importance of parents, educators, and students taking responsibility by working together to help ensure gifted students with learning difficulties have the ability to reach their potential. Along with the practical advice, strategies and materials offered in Smart Kids, the above themes not only apply to smart kids, but gifted children as well.
Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential is a well written, informative must-read for any parent, educator or counselor interacting with gifted children that have labeled or suspected learning difficulties. The authors followed through on the purpose of this book. It is a guide in the truest sense; providing engaging hands-on material to help adults identify and assist a deserving group of underserved students.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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