Learning difficulties

4th November 2005 at 00:00
DEVELOPING SCHOOL PROVISION FOR CHILDREN WITH DYSPRAXIA: A PRACTICAL GUIDE. Edited by Nichola Jones. Paul Chapman. pound;16.99. This book consists of 10 essays, three of which are very good. Two are written by the parent of a talented dyspraxic boy, and by a group of dyspraxic children. We share the triumph of the boy finally remembering how to ride a bike, after learning how and forgetting several times, and the misery of a 13-year-old girl who falls over almost every day.

The outstanding professional contribution is Christine Macintyre's chapter on developing gross motor skills, 15 pages of detailed information and guidance that would enable a teacher to set up and run a programme with confidence. Dr Macintyre includes 11 references to publications, all her own.

Most other contributors spend too long setting the scene and theorising.

There are too many statements of the obvious and the few good practical examples, including a succinct summary of a child's problems by a teacher, are not followed through. For example, we see a sample of a child's handwriting when he is sent for assessment, but not the effectiveness of the recommended teaching techniques.

The contributors' CVs make impressive reading but it would have taken much tighter editing and clearer understanding of the practical requirements of experienced teachers to turn this into a genuinely practical guide.

John Bald

Literacy consultant

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