Book Reviews:

As we launch NLDline, we will review books once a month at first, because there are only a few on the specific subject of NLD.  This month we are sending along the review of Sue Thompson's popular The Source For Nonverbal Learning Disorders. (formerly titled I Shouldn't Have To Tell You!)

I Shouldn't Have To Tell You!**
A Guide to Understanding Nonverbal Learning Disorders
(**Now titled The Source For Nonverbal Learning Disorders)
by Sue Thompson, M.A.,C.E.T.

A Book Review by Theresa D. Fellmann

"I Shouldn't Have To Tell You!" drives the point home - all throughout the manual do have to tell them . . . tell them everything. I love the title of this beautifully written and beautifully presented new book!  An impressive synthesis of information about nonverbal learning disorders, this is exactly the manual that has been so eagerly sought by those of us who are anxious to learn more about this under-recognized category of learning disabilities!

Nonverbal learning disorders were initially uncovered in the early 1970's.  The three basic areas of dysfunction characterizing this syndrome are thoroughly discussed throughout the book: motoric, visual-spatial-organizational, and social.

The author's many references to other professionals in the field gives her perspective strong credibility.  All aspects of NLD are well covered and presented in a straight-forward, easy-to-read format.  Upon completion, all readers should have a good grasp of the syndrome of  nonverbal learning disorders. 

Until now, those seeking resources  for understanding NLD had to search through many cumbersome journals and  clinical studies.  Now, at last, all the pertinent information has been gathered and placed in one comprehensive manual (150 pages, including a much appreciated glossary of terms and an extensive bibliography).  The tables and lists in the appendixes conveniently condense the information and serve to refresh your memory in a abbreviated fashion.  The AD/HD-NLD comparison chart at the back is particularly helpful.

I find this manual to be very reader friendly, not filled with medical, technical, and/or research jargon. The personal stories are touching and poignant, providing a keen insight to parents and professionals who face similar situations. The summary hints at the end of each chapter are concrete and realistic. The real-life examples, sensible information, and professional suggestions packed into this book are all beneficial and highly applicable. Many lists are included for quick reference. The chapter titles make it easy to locate information and tips to aid educators and parents in helping these children cope with their home, school, and social environments. One of the most important aspects for me, as an educator, is the realization that I need to develop ways to accommodate this child's disabilities, rather than merely thinking in terms of remediation techniques. The sections on CAMS (compensations, accommodations, modifications, and strategies) are of special interest to those working in schools. There are many useful pointers for teachers throughout the book, including several excellent ideas for accommodating these students in class without embarrassing them in the process. Hopefully parents that read this manual will realize how important the home environment is for the child with NLD. Home life sets the stage for all other life experiences. Parents must be the primary therapists, regardless of the services provided in school and/or by an outside professional. The list of basic skills for parenting a child with NLD at the end of Chapter V is especially helpful in this regard.

The author is an Educational Consultant and Therapist who has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of learning disabilities. Sue Thompson is well known in the Bay Area for her presentations to parents and her staff-training for school districts. This manual was written in response to requests from parents and educators that she pull her expertise together in a format that could be more widely distributed. Since its first printing in October of 1996, the manual is now in its third printing. A revised edition has just been released - the demand for this information has gone beyond all expectations! And, it's no wonder . . . this practical, easy-to-use manual should be read by every parent and educator who would like to learn more about nonverbal learning disorders. And, every school district should have this excellent resource in their professional reference library. In short, I love this book - it's wonderfully written, readable, engaging, and the intimate vignettes add just the right personal touch. I highly recommend "I Shouldn't Have To Tell You!" to anyone who seeks expert advice on working with and/or rearing a child exhibiting the characteristics of NLD, or any of the other related nonlanguage-based learning disorders (Asperger's Syndrome, PDD, William's Syndrome, Hyperlexia, etc.). In fact, you may want to purchase two copies, if possible . . . one for keeping and one for lending out, or you may never see your manual once your friends and colleagues start asking to borrow it!

Theresa D. Fellmann is Director of the Twin Valley Learning Center in Livermore, CA and past President of SHARE Support, Inc.  She regularly writes for a number of publications.