Star Shaped Pegs, Square Holes

by Kathy Allen

A Book Review by Dawn and Rich Ford

As parents of two NLD children, we felt such relief when we got our hands on our first copy of Star Shaped Pegs, Square Holes. We've struggled with finding the right explanations to demystify NLD for our children and to help them gain a better understanding of themselves. This book gives us the tool to begin a conversation about these delicate and crucial truths.

Ms. Allen covers NLD in a frank and comforting way. We marveled at how the light bulb went off as our children heard the words for the first time - "There is an unwritten rule, there are residual rules, ones your mother didn't tell you about". And as the veil of confusion was lifted, our children were comforted by the fact that there is an explanation and someone understands their struggle and can help them.

New parents hold their babes in their arms and wish these darling little beings came with instruction manuals. Eventually that feeling fades and they begin to feel like they can handle the challenge. But for the parent of the NLD child, that time never comes. All of the sage advice that experienced parents and professionals give don't work with the NLD child. It's no wonder that parents of NLD children feel ineffectual. But here at last is an instruction manual for the NLD child. Parents need only read it aloud and be open to discussion.

This book is perfectly written for the NLD child who lives in the world of words. If you live in a non-verbal world then Star Shaped Pegs, Square Holes may seem wordy. When I first read the book I felt like the untalented Emperor in the film "Amadeus," as he reviews Mozart's brilliant new composition. Like the Emperor, I wanted to tell Ms. Allen " Well, it is good work and quite new but there are simply too many notes. There are, after all, only so many notes the human ear can hear in one evening." But I am not NLD. The NLD child never hears too many notes, never hears too many words and Star Shaped Pegs, Square Holes was music to NLD ears. When I mentioned to my children that the book seemed wordy they said it was perfect. Like Mozart, they said " There are only as many notes as are required, no more, no less." Then the questions about People Passwords began. " Why would somebody say one thing but mean something else?" They actually wanted more! We anxiously await volume two - Answers for Star Shaped Pegs.

This explanation of NLD for children is a must for every child with NLD. Once they've read it, their lives will be much better as they begin to understand how to deal with the frustrations, problems and struggles they face every day.

Star Shaped Pegs, Square Holes may be ordered by contacting the author at Goodenough Books, 925-443-4354.

Kathy Allen has enjoyed working with middle and high school students in recreational, educational and residential settings.  She has a master's degree in pastoral counseling from Boston University.  She has also taught middle school students with NLD in a home and community-based school.

Dawn and Richard Ford are the parents of 2 children with NLD. They have done extensive research into educational options for their children. Both are independent filmmakers and live with their family in Oregon.