Book Clearing House
Helping Children with Learning Problems
Educational Therapist with years of experience shares her findings on helping children to overcome learning disabilities (dyslexia).
Educational therapist Addie Cusimano shares her findings which are based on her research, work and success with students from pre-school to college age, from learning disabled to gifted. She presents answers to improving students preparation for learning with ease. Ms. Cusimano discusses reading, mathematics, writing and learning skill approaches that work best, the importance of teaching specific learning skills and offers many valuable teaching techniques and strategies to help childen overcome their learning disabilities. Written in an easy to read format, Ms. Cusimano offers solutions for educators, parents, and professionals. Her premise is that learning disabled students can and should be cured at an elementary level, and that the best approach for all children would be one that incorporates specific facets of learning along with the basics. Ms. Cusimano's book is an excellent choice for teacher training and workshops.
Probably the most prevalent but most often overlooked learning skill deficiency is auditory memory. Auditory memory involves being able to take in information that is presented orally to you, process that information, store it in your mind and then recall what you have heard. Basically, it involves the task of attending, listening, processing, storing, and recalling. This, for many students, even those who are not learning disabled, can be an extremely difficult task. A weakness in auditory memory can have serious consequences in the realm of learning for students because students pick up only bits and pieces of what is being said during a classroom lecture. And, auditory memory weaknesses of students can easily go undetected by a teacher. Often children with auditory memory problems appear to be trying very hard to listen. Because their eyes are focused on the teacher and they appear to be attentive, it is easy for the teacher to assume that these children have heard all that is being taught. However, in reality, they often absorb and make sense out of very little of what is being stated by the teacher. As a result, these students recall only a small amount or none of what is being said. They might remember a word here or there, or part of a thought, but often do not truly understand much of the information presented orally to them. Students with auditory memory deficiencies frequently experience difficulty comprehending orally presented directions. They often think that they have understood directions for completing their assignments, when actually they have understood very little. As a result, assignments are often completed incorrectly.
Students with auditory memory deficiencies will often experience difficulty developing a good understanding of words, remembering terms and information that has been presented orally, for example, in history and science classes. These students will also experience difficulty processing and recalling information that they have read to themselves. When we read we must listen and process information we say to ourselves, even when we read silently. If we do not attend and listen to our silent input of words, we cannot process the information or recall what we have read. Therefore, even silent reading involves a form of listening.
It is important to understand that each aspect of auditory memory is specific unto itself. Students must learn to take in all types of information, that which is presented in isolation as well as in context. While one area of the brain involves the intake of a series of unrelated letters, another involves numbers, another words, and, there are others that involve a contextual series of words, sentences, and whole passages. It must not be assumed that because a student can attend, listen and recall a series of numbers, for example, that he will also be able to recall a series of words.
Isolated units of information are often presented orally in school. Being skilled in recalling a series of items is essential for all students. For example, a teacher may say, "Color only the apples, bananas and pears on your paper." If a student has an auditory problem for series of words he will not be able to recall the series of apples, bananas and pears. Students need to be tested to determine if they can recall the number of items in a series proficiently for their age. While some students may be able to recall a series of three items, they may not be able to recall a longer series of items. For example, add one more item to the list, apples, bananas, pears and grapes, and this longer series may be impossible for those same children to recall.
Auditory memory involving contextual information is equally important to the process of learning. Students with auditory memory problems in this area often cannot recall an entire sentence that has been presented orally. Or, they may be able to recall a short sentence of three words in length but not a longer sentence. This posses many problems in school with oral comprehension and the ability to follow oral directions. In addition, while some students can recall a lengthy sentence well, they may not be able to process and recall a short passage that is presented orally. These students may be able to answer a specific question about the information that has been presented to them orally or that they have read, but are not able to grasp the whole paragraph. Often, these students assume that they know what they have heard or read orally, when actually, they have processed and recalled very little of the material. Sometimes parents and educators assume that children have understood an entire passage when they answer a specific question about the passage, yet, that specific information might be all that they have gleaned from the passage. Therefore, students should be encouraged to restate passages, that is, the main idea and supporting details, in order to demonstrate that they have total comprehension. There is a vast amount of information that is lost by students with auditory difficulties. While we want our students to be prepared to answer specific questions from passages they have read, we also need to be certain that they comprehend passages in their entirety.
Throughout my years of testing I have found a higher percentage of students with weaknesses in the auditory memory areas than any other learning skill area, even among those students whom we would not classify as learning disabled. In addition, most children who have attention deficit disorders and/or hyperactivity have serious auditory memory deficiencies. These children are desperately in need of remediation in the auditory skill areas.
Students with auditory memory weaknesses learn best when.....
Director of Guidance: Counselors, School Psychologists and Social Workers
“Both educators and parents will benefit from this easy to read, insightful and informative book. Cusimano does an excellent job in connecting theory with practice due to her extensive years of research. Her easy to follow step by step instructions makes this book a valuable tool that can truly change the lives of many academically frustrated children and their parents.”
Review by Betsy B. Lee, Ed. S. School Psychology,
The author is an experienced educational specialist who presents techniques for teaching specific learning skills such as visual and auditory memory skills and perceptual skills necessary for learning. Because of my research and experience with learning strategies and similarities - differences concept formation, I'm especially impressed by the practical applications she offers to parents, educators, and physicians. These techniques can be adapted to learners of any age.
This revised second edition includes two new chapters: application of learning strategies to the teaching of foreign languages and mathematics. It also presents updated details on the teaching of reading. I highly recommend this book as well as her other books: Achieve: A Visual Memory Program, Auditory Sequential Memory Instructional Workbook and Visual Discrimination: Noting Differences in Frequently Misperceived Words workbook.
At first glance at this book's title, I was skeptical about the claim for a cure. This feeling melted away as I read about the author's credentials and as I saw her suggestions. She recommends an eclectic approach. Her recommendations are based on years of research, advanced professional education, and teaching experience. She left public education to establish a learning center. The reading ability of the average child at her learning center increased two to two and a half years during one year of instruction. She shows how learning is impacted by visual perception, visual memory, auditory perception, and auditory memory skills. She shows how to recognize these deficiencies and remedy them. She states: "With concentrated remediation that develops learning skills along with the basic reading, thinking, and study skills, learning disabilities can be cured." She urges publishers to design reading programs using all approaches rather than to struggle over which type of reading approach to use. Her book has an interesting review of different reading programs.
As a school psychologist, it was frustrating to have so little to offer parents and teachers about how to help students strengthen specific areas of weakness which were found by the tests. The child has an auditory problem, a visual memory problem, etc. Well, what can be done?
This book helps parents and teachers answer this question promoting specific learning strategies. The revision offers more details about teaching reading in addition to applying learning strategies to the teaching of foreign languages and mathematics. Learning how to learn is an area often overlooked in today's busy, test-oriented classrooms.
Some of the best material I've found is in Learning Disabilities: There is a Cure along with the author's teaching materials. Read the editorial review for more about how these workbooks developed from years of experience meeting specific needs of students.
I'd give this one 6 stars if I could.”
By Gary Ciesla, Special Education Teacher
Internationally known teacher and author Addie Cusimano has just published the second edition of her book, Learning Disabilities: There is a Cure. Mrs. Cusimano writes passionately about her work with LD students, infusing her clinically sound theory with inspirational accounts of the many students she worked with and the successes they achieved over the course of her career as an educator. Addie Cusimano's book is rich in descriptions of the various methods she devised to help her students overcome the obstacles that interfered with their academic success. Many of the methods and materials were developed while Addie served as director of a highly successful clinic she called The Achievement Center. Since her retirement, Mrs. Cusimano has channeled her energy and passion for helping LD students into writing Learning Disabilities: There is a Cure, capturing the essence of the success she achieved for so many years, leaving us with a much clearer understanding of how we can help the LD student achieve success. This book offers teachers countless ideas and strategies to help struggling students come out from under the weight of their learning handicaps.
One thing I found very informative about Learning Disabilities: There is a Cure was the simple and straightforward description that was offered to help the reader understand the problems faced by LD learners. Addie Cusimano sums up their difficulties as falling within four areas of a quadrant: Auditory and Visual Perception, and Auditory and Visual Memory. In all of my Special Education coursework and training over many years, I never considered that the difficulties faced by the LD learner could be summed up within the parameters of such a simple quadrant. Mrs. Cusimano devotes entire chapters to each of the four areas, first identifying and describing each particular problem, and then discussing useful strategies for remediation. Identifying the needs of LD students always seemed much more complicated than that. Addie's book has taught me to consider identifying and remediating learning disabilities in these four areas: Auditory and Visual Memory, and Auditory and Visual Perception.
Mrs. Cusimano makes it clear in her writing that she loved working with students, and nothing made her happier than to see them graduate from her center with newfound confidence in their ability as learners. She also makes it clear that she hopes that her life's work and her methods will carry on and continue to influence future generations of teachers and learners. Learning Disabilities: There is a Cure is a valuable sourcebook that gives teachers a simple framework and hundreds of ideas to help them as they guide their LD students on the road to academic success.
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