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Getting Through the Early Days of a Child's Diagnosis of

Learning Disabilities and Related Disorders



Foreword by Judy Woodruff

Finalist in Books for a Better Life Award




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From the author of Laughing Allegra and On their Own, a reassuring and invaluable book filled with personal stories and practical guidance to help parents of a child just diagnosed with a learning disability or related disorder. 






More than three million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a learning disability, and their parents, more often than not, feel at a loss as to where to turn for both practical and emotional help.  Anne Ford, who raised her severely learning disabled daughter Allegra and became an advocate for LD children, understands this all too well.

In A Special Mother, Ford offers parents information, comfort, and reassurance and shows them the ropes to getting through the early period surrounding the diagnosis.  This book offers:

  • Guidance about coping with the emotional upheaval and confusion of a child's diagnosis

  • Information on getting an accurate diagnosis and understanding what it means

  • Basic facts on navigating the system--a system seemingly designed to be as confusing as possible

  • Advice for maintaining your sanity and caring for your own psychological needs

  • Strategies for preparing and educating yourself for the ordeal ahead by knowing your rights

  • Suggestion for striking a balance between advocacy and obsession

Filled with voices of other mothers who have struggled (and continue to struggle) with the issues of raising an LD child, A Special Mother lets parents know they are not alone, and that they can enable their child to thrive. 


From The Old Schoolhouse: The Magazine for Homeschooling Families

Anne Ford is an experienced mom who has been through the trenches and has written this book to guide you through the journey with your child's learning disabilities, from pre-diagnosis to experienced advocate. It is written with both sensitivity and practicality. Having been there herself, Anne is able to write with compassionate understanding of the concerns and worries parents face.

In addition to her own experience, Anne's book shares the wisdom of several experts and of other moms and dads who share their insight to shed light on this emotional issue. Especially geared toward families just beginning this journey, A Special Mother walks you through diagnosis and ultimately to an acceptance of that diagnosis before moving onward, step-by-step, through evaluations, record-keeping, and education plans. I found the section on record-keeping to be most enlightening with its excellent advice on which records to keep, how to store them, and even how to share records and notes so that they have the most impact with the school system and with doctors. Special attention is also given to relationships: playmates for your child, sibling situations, support for parents, and marriage relationships.

The book is a beautiful blend of sensitive encouragement and practical solutions. With gentle care, it guides you through fears and frustrations. And with eye-opening clarity, it helps you set goals and find answers. If you or someone you know has a child with learning disabilities or related disorders, I cannot recommend this book highly enough for practical and emotional support along the way.

Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010


From The Missing Piece - "This has probably been the best book I've ever read on learning challenges"

I recently read a new book by Anne Ford, A Special Mother: Getting Through the Early Days of a Child's Diagnosis of Learning Disabilities and Related Disorders

This has probably been the best book I've ever read on learning challenges. It is written to mothers by a mother who has gone through the journey of discovery, seeking answers, and raising a child with learning disabilities. From the introduction mothers are encouraged to listen to their instincts, their inner voice, and to have hope. If you have a child who you suspect has a learning disability or challenge, then this book is for you! It should be the first one you read.

I wanted to highlight some of the chapters for you.

In our practice we meet many mothers who have that 'feeling' that something isn't quite right but those mothers are often discouraged by friends, family, and other professionals from seeking answers and help.

In Chapter 3 titled: '"He's Fine - He'll Grow Out of It": Delay vs. Learning Disability', Ford addresses this very issue by defining the difference between delay in development vs. developmental delay vs. pervasive developmental delay.

Chapter 8 'Should I Have Him Tested? Requesting a Formal Evaluation' clearly illustrates the need to be informed. This chapter gives you detailed information on how to go about requesting a formal evaluation through a school.

Other topics covered include:

What should you do first?
Records and rights: organizing your records and papers
Interpreting the results of an evaluation
Eligibility determination
Special fathers
The social side of LD
Causing of learning disabilities

A Special Mother moves to the top of my list of books I recommend to families in our practice!

Reviewed Saturday, November 27, 2010



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