When School Is Hard: Library Resources to Help You Help Your Child

When School Is Hard: Library Resources to Help You Help Your Child Banner Photo

School is not easy for every child. School struggles for your child can seem daunting, for you and for them.  Whether they are facing behavior or learning challenges,  the "everyday" things for some can feel like Mount Everest for you and your child.

Here are some resources from our Parents' Collection that may help. If you don't find what you are looking for here, the librarians in the Kids' Department are always willing to help try to find something that will. We are also always available to help you learn to download free eBooks through the library onto devices and teach you and your child how to use assistive tricks, such as increasing the font size, line spacing, and light levels.

We are here -- for you and your kid. We are also even more than willing to just help find that book or movie to enjoy together to bring the laughter back when you need a break from the hard stuff. 

Let's jump right in!

Learning Disabilities & IEPs

The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child by Attorney Lawrence M. Siegel 

Get the educational services and support your child deserves Federal law guarantees every child a free appropriate education, and the goal of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) is to assure that every child with special needs receives what the law promises. But if you have a special ed child, you know that your family must make sure the school follows through. This powerful book covers: eligibility rules and assessments working with outside experts developing your child's ideal educational program preparing for and attending IEP meetings resolving disputes with school districts. The 9th edition covers two new Supreme Court decisions and developments in special ed voucher programs. It provides key forms, sample letters, and resources you need at every stage of the IEP process. With it, you can make sure your child gets a good education. The education he or she deserves.


The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities by Larry B. Silver, M.D.

The fully revised and updated must-have resource to help you become a supportive and assertive advocate for your child In print for more than twenty years, The Misunderstood Child has become the go-to reference guide for families of children with learning disorders. This newly revised edition provides the latest research and new and updated content, including: * How to identify and address specific disabilities, from dyslexia to sensory integration disorder * New information on the genetics of learning disorders * Expanded sections on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) * The most recent neurological discoveries about how the brain functions in children with learning disabilities * Insights about other neurological disorders common among individuals with learning disabilities, such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, anger-control problems, depression, and tic disorders * Resources, Web sites, and organizations that can aid the treatment process and offer support for both parent and child


The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child by Richard Selznick, PhD

This book is based on the author's clinical experience as director of a program in the paediatrics department of a large teaching hospital that assesses and treats a broad range of learning problems. He has consulted with thousands of families, explaining complex data in straightforward terms understandable to the parents. He coined the term "shut-down learner" to describe children who thrive with hands-on tasks requiring visual and spatial abilities, but who become discouraged by their difficulty mastering core academic skills such as reading and writing. As many as 40% of Americans experience problems with these core skills, and a significant proportion of them are spatial thinkers. This book is packed with techniques that parents can use to help their shut-down learner succeed in school and in life. In a friendly, non-technical style, the author helps them understand their child's characteristics and offers specific approaches to break the downward spiral.


Thinking Differently: An Inspiring Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities  by David Flink

An innovative, comprehensive guide--the first of its kind--to help parents understand and accept learning disabilities in their children, offering tips and strategies for successfully advocating on their behalf and helping them become their own best advocates. In Thinking Differently, David Flink, the leader of Eye to Eye--a national mentoring program for students with learning and attention issues--enlarges our understanding of the learning process and offers powerful, innovative strategies for parenting, teaching, and supporting the 20 percent of students with learning disabilities. An outstanding fighter who has helped thousands of children adapt to their specific learning issues, Flink understands the needs and experiences of these children first hand. He, too, has dyslexia and ADHD. Focusing on how to arm students who think and learn differently with essential skills, including meta-cognition and self-advocacy, Flink offers real, hard advice, providing the tools to address specific problems they face--from building self-esteem and reconstructing the learning environment, to getting proper diagnoses and discovering their inner gifts. With his easy, hands-on "Step-by-Step Launchpad to Empowerment," parents can take immediate steps to improve their children's lives. Thinking Differently is a brilliant, compassionate work, packed with essential insights and real-world applications indispensable for parents, educators, and other professional involved with children with learning disabilities.


Online Resources:


Learning Disabilities Association of America

PBS Parents: Learning Disabilities 


Learning to Read/Dyslexia

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence and Love of Learning

by Ben Foss
"Finally, a groundbreaking book that reveals what your dyslexic child is experiencing--and what you can do so that he or she will thrive More than thirty million people in the United States are dyslexic--a brain-based genetic trait, often labeled as a "learning disability" or "learning difference," that makes interpreting text and reading difficult. Yet even though children with dyslexia may have trouble reading, they don't have any problems learning; dyslexia has nothing to do with a lack of intellect. While other books tell you what dyslexia is, this book tells you what to do. Dyslexics' innate skills, which may include verbal, social, spatial, kinesthetic, visual, mathematical, or musical abilities, are their unique key to acquiring knowledge. Figuring out where their individual strengths lie, and then harnessing these skills, offers an entry into learning and excelling. And by keeping the focus on learning, not on standard reading the same way everyone else does, a child with dyslexia can and will develop the self-confidence to flourish in the classroom and beyond. After years of battling with a school system that did not understand his dyslexia and the shame that accompanied it, renowned activist and entrepreneur Ben Foss is not only open about his dyslexia, he is proud of it."

"The first completely comprehensive, practical guide for recognizing, diagnosing, and overcoming any childhood reading difficulty. According to the National Institute of Health, ten million of our nation's children (approximately 17 percent) have trouble learning to read. While headlines warn about the nation's reading crisis, Susan Hall (whose son was diagnosed with dyslexia) and Louisa Moats have become crusaders for action. The result of their years of research and personal experience, Parenting a Struggling Reader provides a revolutionary road map for any parent facing this challenging problem. Acknowledging that parents often lose valuable years by waiting for their school systems to test for a child's reading disability, Hall and Moats offer a detailed, realistic program for getting parents actively involved in their children's reading lives. With a four-step plan for identifying and resolving deficiencies, as well as advice for those whose kids received weak instruction during the crucial early years, this is a landmark publication that promises unprecedented hope for the next generation of Information Age citizens."


Online Resources:

Reading Rocket's Top Ten Resources on Dyslexia

Understood.Org's Dyslexia Information Page

Learning Disabilities of America Dyslexia Resources for Parents


Behavior Challenges & Mental Health

Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them by Ross W. Greene

"Counsels parents and educators on how to best safeguard the interests of children with behavioral, emotional, and social challenges, in a guide that identifies the misunderstandings and practices that are contributing to a growing number of student failures."





The Kindness Curriculum: Stop Bullying Before It Starts by Judith Rice

"Use this comprehensive framework and developmentally appropriate activities to teach young children compassion, conflict resolution, respect, and other positive, pro-social values as you cultivate a peaceful and supportive learning environment for all children"




The Disappearing Girl: Learning the Language of Teenage Depression by Dr. Lisa Machoian

"Adults are increasingly concerned about the rising rate of depression in teenage girls and the frequency of alarming behaviors including wild conduct, explosive outbursts, back talking, sexual escapades, drug experimentation, and even cutting, eating disorders, and suicide attempts. The Disappearing Girl , the first book on depression in teenage girls, helps parents understand: * Why silence reflects a girl's desperate wish for inclusion, not isolation * Subtle differences between teen angst and problem behavior * Vulnerabilities in dating, friendships, school, and families * How, if untreated, girls will carry feelings of helplessness, anger, and depression into adulthood Dr. Machoian also offers conversation topics to help girls navigate mixed messages, develop their identity, make healthy decisions, and build resilience that will empower them throughout life, as well as helping parents manage their own frustration."


Understanding Girls with ADHD: How They Feel and Why They Do What They Do by Kathleen G. Nadeau 

Fifteen Years after the publication of the first edition of this book, girls with ADHD continue to be misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Research conducted in these intervening years has clearly validated the clinical observations contained in the first edition and established the need for accurate diagnosis and treatment of girls with ADHD. Important research on coexisting conditions such as mood disorders, executive functioning deficits, eating disorders, and other at-risk behaviors are addressed in more detail in this revised edition. Updated Checklists for preschool, elementary, middle and high school, and a Self-rating Scale for Girls are included. What Hasn't Changed is the practical, solution-focused advice that has assisted countless parents, teachers, and professionals in helping girls with ADHD to succeed.


Straight Talk About Psychiatric Medications for Children by Timothy E. Wilens 

"When a child is struggling with an emotional or behavioral problem, parents face many difficult decisions. Is medication the right choice? What about side effects? How long will medication be needed? In this authoritative guide, leading child psychiatrists Drs. Timothy Wilens and Paul Hammerness explain the nuts and bolts of psychiatric medications--from how they work and potential risks to their impact on a child's emotions, school performance, personality, and health. Extensively revised to include the latest information about medications and their uses, the fourth edition is even more accessible, and includes pullouts, bulleted lists, and "take home points" highlighting critical facts. In addition to parents, this is an ideal reference for teachers and other school professionals"


Online Resources: 

NAMI: Massachusetts -- Child Mental Health Resource for Parents

Understood.org on ADHD/ADD

MentalHealth.gov -- Parent & Caregiver Resources