A Graph Review of: A Quick Guide to Special Needs and Disabilities
author: Bob Bates Sage Publishing Nov 2016
Paperback £19.99. 9781473 97974 1
A good quality guide and reference work offering information and positive action plus sensible points for further detailed follow-up.
Available via: www.BooksEducation.co.uk. and other bookstores.
As the title says, here is a quick (reading) guide to helping you be confident in recognising many disabilities and confirming those you know, in consistent, brief descriptions of the key elements to look for and techniques to help deal with in the classroom or other situations. The author introduces the techniques as suggestions of methods that have been positive whilst pointing out that variations as well as differing ones may also be beneficial. He quotes case studies of children and also several famous people who have been willing to open their ‘disabilities’ to view in order to show it as part of their character and not always a draw-back when their positives can be engaged; that no-one should be defined purely by the difficulties they have to overcome.
As usual there is an index; plus a note on the author and a useful glossary at the start followed by a few pages on how to ‘use the book’. The book itself is in four sections, the main one being the brief descriptions followed by key support strategies of 65 areas of special needs of varying physical, mental and social areas. With suggested text or web sites for additional follow-up.
The final section is related to strategies for children, parents, teachers and SENCOs and a basic run-through of various therapies that are currently found to be effective. Throughout and as a final thought, the author says how aware he is that there is much more available on these and more ‘needs’ that could not be included in the book.
I am not going to list the inclusions but note the wide ranging from first: ‘Allergies’ to the final ‘Young Offender’. Again the author, Bob Bates, makes the comment that the pointers and strategies are frequently as applicable to adults as young or older children. His view, as are many others: that the strategies should fit the ‘child’.
Initially I found the use of double-page spread confusing where a new subject started mid-page and you had to recognise that the heavy, broken line across the two open pages was a boundary marker for change of subject. This is a signal to stop at the broken line on the left-hand page and switch back to the top of the right page and read down again to the broken line. Reaching that is the end of the subject and you switch back to the right-hand page below the broken line and repeat moving across to below the broken line on right-hand page again.
Maybe I should not have written this comment; it reads worse than it actually is. However, it did annoy me a little. Maybe the format of the book needed this design, or for me, maybe not.
Despite this anomaly in design, the content seems remarkably clear, useful and positive as starting points in so many differing situations. A useful book that is extremely readable and easy to dip into or refer to whenever the need arises.