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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
Featured Resource

Mislabeled Child, The


Mislabeled Child, The

Printer Friendly Version

Publisher: Hyperion

Author: Brock  Eide, M.D., M.A.
Fernette Eide, M.D.

List Price: $25.95

Ages: Adult

Reviewed By: Virginia Jones

Labels have many uses. They can tell you what’s in an otherwise anonymous can. (Just imagine having to open cans to see what’s in them! “What’s for dinner, Mom?” “Um, just a minute, let me get this can open. I’m hoping for baked beans... Nope! Peaches tonight!”) With a label, you can figure out who left a shirt on the bathroom floor for three days, while you were waiting for the owner to pick it up. A label can help, if properly applied, to address the way students might learn differently. Schools use labels to identify students needing additional help. As a nice (for the school) side benefit, labeled students mean more money for the school.

A sad by-product of the latter application is that labeling also points out to other students someone who is “different” and therefore a prime target for bullying. A label can hurt, if it’s the wrong label, or if it’s wrongly used, for example as an excuse rather than a challenge (e.g. something like, “I have ADD so it’s not reasonable for my boss to expect me to get to work on time.”). It can also be a temptation to look at students and see labels, instead of people.

We have one child who is officially labeled, and others that probably would be labeled if they were in a government or even a private school. It was interesting to work my way through The Mislabeled Child, having read so many other books on various syndromes in an effort to figure out the best way to raise these challenging individuals that God has entrusted to our care.

First, the authors don’t make assumptions. They provide a lot of information, backed up by the latest research, all the while warning against slapping an arbitrary label on a child or relying too much on such a thing. The Mislabeled Child is well organized, beginning with a short discussion of the use and misuse of labels, followed by an informative chapter entitled “How to Get the Most from This Book.” I have to love a book with such a chapter; it allays my anxiety that I’m going to miss something important. It’s even better when the chapter really does what it says it will: Here you’ll find how the Eides evaluate children for learning differences, a description of how the brain works (sort of like an organic computer, the areas involved are input-processing-output and that all-important capacity for paying attention).

Following this general introduction, you’ll find chapters on various areas where people (not just children) may struggle. Each begins with an anecdote, showing a real child affected by problems in that area. A section on behaviors follows, sort of a checklist of things you might observe in someone struggling in a certain area, whether it’s retention, auditory processing, visual processing, hearing problems (too dim or too acute), speech difficulties, or something else. Something I found extremely helpful in these checklists were the comments on mislabeling (behaviors that suggest one thing might be signs of something else entirely, which might be phrased as, “Conditions that Can Mimic... etc.”).

Next, the authors address the cause of the difficulty under discussion, in terms of how the brain is organized. I found this section fascinating. The brain is such a wondrously intricate creation! The authors briefly discuss procedures for evaluating a child for a specific condition, and then turn their attention to a detailed discussion of ways to help children to cope, or learn, or retrain, or in other words, do their best.

There are so many topics in this book! If your child is struggling to read, or write, or speak; if your child lacks social skills; if your child is unusually bright or gifted; if your child bounces from one subject to another, chattering incessantly, and cannot seem to sit still; if your child cannot seem to memorize math facts (all of which we have seen in our family)--you’ll find a discussion of each of these in The Mislabeled Child, and more.

The authors are practical and encouraging in their approach, and it is evident that they have a lot of experience in this area.

If your child bears a label, you might do well to read The Mislabeled Child not only to double-check what the “experts” say, but also for the information and advice you can glean on dealing with your child. You may even find that the label doesn’t quite address your child’s specific needs.

If your child isn’t labeled, but you have a nagging suspicion or outright knowledge that something isn’t working right, The Mislabeled Child can help to steer you in the right direction.

Even if you have no worries at all, in reading this book you’ll learn a great deal about how children learn, how our brains work (or don’t), and how we can make learning and getting along with one another easier.

Highly recommended.
More Information
Available From: Eide Neurolearning Clinic
Address: 6701 139th Place SW, Edmonds, WA 98026
Phone: 425.742.2218
Other Notes:
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Virginia Jones
Virginia Jones hails from a small town in the Midwest, where "Nothing ever happens, thankfully!" Her family's interests include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, swimming, and, when they can manage to sit still, reading.
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