Monday, April 23, 2018

Review of Special Ed Survival Guide by Bonnie Landau

Welcome to the book tour for Special Ed Mom Survival Guide by Bonnie Landau. This is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, so when presented with the opportunity to review the book, I jumped on it. Please read on for more information about Bonnie and the book, as well as my thoughts and opinions. While I did receive a complimentary copy of the book, I was not influenced by this as I was crafting my review.

Also note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites at no additional cost to you.

Special Ed Mom Survival Guide

“Your son’s brain function is severely abnormal. I would recommend you begin saving for his group home care as an adult.”

Any mom would be crushed by this dire pessimistic prediction, but Bonnie did not let this UCLA neuropsychologist’s edict determine her son’s fate. Combining relentless determination with research, learning and in-depth discussions with professionals, Bonnie found ways to help him progress from ‘severely abnormal’ to honor roll student.

In the Special Ed Mom Survival Guide, Bonnie leads you through the vital steps necessary to survive as a Special Ed Mom. From learning how to manage the emotional overwhelm, to figuring out how to get the school to say yes, Bonnie presents a roadmap that leads you through this confusing obstacle course. Sharing tried and true methods, Bonnie teaches you to find your own inner compass so you can gain the ability and confidence to make decisions that bring results for your child. Based on personal and professional experience, Bonnie will help you to:
  • Create the Right Mindset
  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Take Care of Your Child
  • Understand the Special Ed Process
  • Take Charge of the Special Ed Process
“If only I had had a guide to help me navigate all the challenges,” Bonnie says. “Then I could have focused more on my child and less on learning how to get help.” Every Special Ed Mom needs this guide to help make the journey easier!

**My thoughts**

I have to preface this review by saying that I spent 20 years working as an educator in Montessori schools. When starting my career, I only had maybe one child a year who required an IEP or other special considerations. The year that I left, over 3/4 of my class was on an IEP, even though I had a "typical" classroom and not a special ed classroom. My background is early childhood education, though I did pursue coursework as a special ed minor, plus have done a lot of independent study over the years. Though I am no longer in the classroom, I continue to work with the special needs community via private respite care. I also have numerous friends who are Special Ed Moms and Dads. So as I was reading through this book, I was looking at all of it with sort of both hats on.

When I started reading, my gut instinct was to bristle at the revelation that Bonnie's son was failed so much by professionals in the field. These ranged from professionals working on diagnoses (or actually failing to consider diagnoses) to numerous failures on the part of the schools as well. I get angry when I hear how professionals are not your friend in the special ed world. But I also have to remember to not take it personally. I think I am one of those few people who actually took on each case individually and fought for each child's individual needs. Part of that was from my background as a Montessori child and educator. Part of that is from my personality. And then I remember the people that I worked with and against over the years. Unfortunately, there is a large part of the population who doesn't understand special needs. There is also a lot of bureaucracy going on in that world that prevents people from giving all of the assistance that they would like to give if they could, but their hands are tied. Because I taught at a private school, I often had to visit numerous districts in one school year as I reported to the IEP meetings for my various students. I saw a lot of differences between all of them. I even got to the point with one chair who made a comment that she appreciated how I fought for the kids and how she hated how her hands were so tied.

I say all of this because Bonnie does throw an awful lot of information in your direction. She shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of navigating the special ed process in the schools. While the beginning of the book does feel like it is coming after the professionals a bit, I really appreciated how in the later chapters, she explains how and why a lot of the schools approach it differently, based on district or individual behavior. She delineates some of the challenges that teachers face that make it difficult to always do the right thing, but also clearly explains when a teacher is simply not being compliant. She does the same for individual schools as well as districts. 

There is a lot of technical jargon that goes on in these meetings. I remember often apologizing to parents before writing up an evaluation or going into a meeting, saying that the words they were going to hear may seem harsh. But if you don't use the right words, you can't trigger certain services. I also apologized to them for how it would seem like we were only going to focus on the negatives with the child. But we, as the invested teacher and the parents, knew all of those positives and would continue to embrace them. Bonnie really gets into this, as well as clear explanations of all of that jargon, the programs, and the various pieces of legislation that enter into the special ed world. It's hard to learn all of these. Even as an educator, one has to go back and review them frequently. 

The beginning of the book does focus a lot on self care of the special ed parent. While the book is mainly focused on the mom, as she is the one who inevitably bears most of the burden, there is a section for dads, written by a Special Ed Dad. Moms and dads do approach the family differently, but both can benefit from reading through the self care tips and advice on how to navigate other family members and friends and finding support within the community. 

I have numerous friends from my work in this field who definitely struggle in the self care realm. So many techniques are provided in here, as well as numerous links for more support and information. I think this is paramount to being a Special Ed Mom. As Eddie Vedder once said in an interview, "You can't save someone from drowning if you're barely treading water yourself." It's so important to figure out which techniques work best for you. 

Another great aspect of this book is the pensive questions that are at the end of each chapter. She also includes a few quizzes to help you figure out where you stand in some situations or in some aspects of your own personality, and then gives you tips to work with that. For these sections, I would love to see an accompanying workbook or journal. I also recommend that parents who purchase this book get the paperback copy, so that they can quickly flip back and forth as needed and can make appropriate notes in the margins. Get it on Kindle so that you can take it with you to read while waiting in line or something, but then also take advantage of writing out thoughts.

This is not an easy book to get through quickly. You're not going to sit down and digest this information in a quick afternoon. You may have to take it one chapter a day or even one chapter a week, and slowly make your way through it. Pick and choose the sections that you need right now. If you're getting ready to go into IEP meetings, focus on that area first. If you're in that more down time, focus on the self care. But be sure to go through the whole thing.

I also want educators and other professionals to read this book. I took note of some rules that I know districts and even my own school had tried to dance around. I knew an awful lot while I was working in the schools and had wonderful resources at my disposal. But even then, it's possible to forget bits and pieces. I also think it is important for professionals to read about the parent's point-of-view when it comes to the overwhelming task of accepting the diagnosis of your child and figuring out how you are going to work with the child. I think it will help you to be even more sympathetic as you are working with these families.

Buy on Amazon

About Bonnie Landau

Bonnie has spent the better part of 25 years as a graphic designer and artist. Always a lover of psychology and the forces that influence behavior, it was a natural transition for her to begin working to resolve her oldest son’s special education challenges. When he was six, a neuropsychologist said he was beyond help, and to plan for his group home care as an adult. Bonnie could not accept that nothing could be done, and she set on a path to find solutions to help her son. He is now an honor student and destined to live a typical life.

Having been through the special ed system as a mom, and now as a advocate and counselor, she saw the need for support for the parents who carry this challenging burden. She has helped parents who struggle with districts who refused services, and she has coached parents in finding ways help their child succeed against the odds. Bonnie knows the fear a mother feels when her child’s future is uncertain, and that is why she chose to shift her life focus into educational consulting. She has a thriving practice as an educational consultant and advocate for parents who find themselves struggling with the special education journey.

She is the author of Special Ed Mom Survival Guide: How to prevail in the special ed process while discovering life-long strategies for both you and your child. She is also the creator of Grounded for Life: 52 Exercises for Daily Grounding, and co-author of Same Journey, Different Paths: Stories of Auditory Processing Disorder. She has a masters in educational counseling and another in spiritual psychology. Her bachelors degree is in architecture. She lives in Ventura County, California with her husband, two boys and their two furry felines.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Nurturing Future World Changers: Fundamentals of brain development by Wanikka Vance-Clark, M.Ed

I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post.  I only share those books that I feel my readers will enjoy. Please note that there are affiliate links included within this post. Should you choose to make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my blogs at no additional cost to you.

Nurturing Future World Changers

We can take advantage of this new information to help children to nurture their physiological and cognitive development.

Lack of knowledge has hindered our understanding but now we know that foundational education is a priority. This book offers insights for parents and preschool teachers on:
• Understanding child brain development 
• Harnessing the power of purposeful play 
• How different experience affect children's brain structure 
• Learning various proven strategies to teach children including storytelling, games, visualization and more 
• Tips on building retentive memory

Children need our help to be able to cope with the future environment which will be very different from ours as technology continues to change the way we live and interact. 

We can use these powerful new discoveries about children's brain development to effectively shape the mind of future generations.
Nurturing future world changers will help both early educators and parents to create an engaging learning experience to foster a child’s positive brain development while sowing the seed for an enriching love of learning.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

What Is a Tesseract? and Other Scientific Stuff by Rebecca Rose Orton

I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books that I think my readers will find interesting.

What Is a Tesseract?

This children's book, What is a Tesseract? And Other Scientific Stuff With Color Illustrations explains the features of a tesseract, wheels within wheels, and a sphere within a sphere all within the context of dimensions. Explore the 0th-4th dimensions with their unique points of view. Imagine what it would be like to exist in each dimension. What can you do? Where can you go? What shapes can exist? Ultimately, answering these questions can lead to a discovery of scientific concepts beyond the daily reality and above the mundane routines of life. This book is targeted for children in upper elementary grades who haven’t taken any geometry classes at school yet. The exposure to geometric concepts in this book is intended to help children get a head start on some vocabulary words and to be ready for geometry class when they do get registered for it. There is an intuitive element to the drawings where children might understand in a scaffolding manner how dimensions work. The illustrated suns are intended to draw out that intuition and show where directions go in each dimension.

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About Rebecca Rose Orton

I first discovered the world of books at the bookmobile, which parked only a block or so down the street from my home at the Catholic School playground. I started with comic books of cute characters like Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck and studiously avoided the comics geared towards action adventure. After running out of those comics to read, I looked high and low all around the bookmobile for something to read. I found the Hardy Boys series and read book after book of this series. After consuming those novels, I complained that the bookmobile didn't have anything more to offer me. My mother told me that there was a library at my school. I was flabbergasted! I didn't know that! I started reading books voraciously at the school library. I remember reading J. R. Tolkien's books there. I was in fifth grade at the time. My grandmother told me that reading saved me, a deaf student, from a tedious, ignorant, and mundane fate in the mainstreamed educational track. In junior high school, my reading skills expanded. I still remember reading my first science fiction book there about a space cadet who had photographic memory. In one English class, I read the entire textbook full of short stories before the first week was out and spent the most of the semester immediately writing out answers to a handout full of questions about each short story because I didn't need to read the short story first during class. Needless to say, I needed to be in a more advanced English class and they placed me in a grammar class where I learned all about grammar from a little red textbook. Most of these lessons stuck with me even to this day. I also remember desperately wanting to buy Trixie Belden books at K-Mart and even tried to read a few chapters while standing in the shopping aisle. At the high school library, I explored other genres such as fairy tales, mythology, new age, etc. Even the people in my life introduced me to new genres. My mother introduced me to psychology books and my best friend introduced romance books to me. In addition, I went to the local public libraries to find more books to read during the summer time and this was where I discovered Star Trek novels and became a Trekkie. At one point, I kept track of the books I read in a year on paper and it listed over a hundred titles. I was proud to have read so many books. They opened an entirely new and completely accessible world to me. I could understand them clearly and books did not get annoyed when I need something repeated back to me because I didn't understand them the first time. Books were wonderful!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

10 Little Black Birds by Amy Elizabeth Mortensen

10 Little Black Birds

Children love to learn, especially if it is fun. This book will help develop counting skills.

Why is learning how to count important? It is the foundation for math. Numbers and counting are the first math concepts children learn. Both are needed before children can learn to solve simple math equations.

The 10 Little Black Birds book helps a child learn to count from 10 to 0. Hand actions were included to aid with learning.

This book is suitable for preschoolers and kindergartners


10 little black birds sitting on a wire. 
Up came a gust of wind and one flew away. 
9 little black birds sitting on a wire. 
Up came a gust of wind and one flew away.

About Amy Elizabeth Mortensen 

The author, Amy Elizabeth Mortensen lived in Colorado during her childhood years and joined her parents in road trips to explore the rest of the country. After studying at University, she wrote training for several companies. Using the same skill set, Amy started to write books for children. She is convinced that infusing adventure and some fun in learning will transform youngsters in becoming lifelong learners.

I received compensation via Fiverr for sharing this post.

US Geography: An Interactive Book by Amy Elizabeth Mortensen

US Geography: An Interactive Book

Help your child learn the 50 US States & Capitals and do well on their US geography test. The eBook contains an interactive US state and capital question and answer game. To aid and encourage your child to complete the game, each answer includes a positive reinforcement.

This book also includes...
• General facts about each state (nickname, motto, flag, song, flower, etc…)
• Summary reference of each of the 50 state shape, capital city’s name and state name.
• 2 digital state and capital flashcard sets which can be used by your child to help learn and to help with memorization of the 50 states and capitals.
• As a bonus, information about the US territories is also provided.



Abbreviation: TX 
Capital: Austin 
Nickname: Lone Star State 
Citizen Known As: Texan (alternative - Texian) 
Motto: Friendship 
Statehood: December 29, 1845; 28th 
State Flower: Bluebonnet 
Tree: Pecan 
Bird: Northern Mockingbird 
Song: "Texas, Our Texas" 
Largest Cities: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas & Austin 

81. What is the state capital of Hawaii? 

82. Springfield is the capital of which state? 
North Carolina 

Learn more at Helijn Publishing

About Amy Elizabeth Mortensen 

The author, Amy Elizabeth Mortensen lived in Colorado during her childhood years and joined her parents in road trips to explore the rest of the country. After studying at University, she wrote training for several companies. Using the same skill set, Amy started to write books for children. She is convinced that infusing adventure and some fun in learning will transform youngsters in becoming lifelong learners.

I received compensation via Fiverr for sharing this post.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Conversation Starter: Life Standing by S. L. Mauldin

Teenagers today are dealing with a host of issues. Many of them were present when we were younger, but times have changed. This means that all of these issues, such as bullying, stereotyping, and even death have a different face today. Readers are giving this book rave reviews and highly suggest it for parents and teachers to read with teens as a way to spark conversations.

Life Sliding

As Gavin’s junior year comes to a close, he faces an inner conflict with his status as the most popular kid in high school. It’s not lost on his father, who sensed for some time that his overly indulged son needs redirection. Making matters worse for Gavin, his dad sends him away for the summer to assist at a camp for children with special needs.

Arriving at camp Life Me Up, Gavin is suddenly forced to dabble in a world less familiar. After his first uncomfortable encounter with a strange girl with multi-colored fingernails, who refuses to waiver his arrogant behavior, Gavin comes face to face with a person from the past, which leaves him uneasy.

Inevitably, three people clash and collide, but when tragedy strikes, they come to an understanding regarding their differences. Becoming a young adult, Gavin faces a summer of harsh lessons in reality. Once he crosses the bridge from a self-inflicted prison to the road to freedom, Gavin and his new friends implement a strategy to stir up the social order when they return to school in the fall.

Because of one jaded person jumping to conclusions, the plan backfires. Will they be able to survive the fallout of what they’ve put into motion? #LifeSliding

Available on Amazon

Midwestern Book Review: 
“Life Sliding” is a compelling read from beginning to end and clearly demonstrates author S. L. Mauldin’s original and exceptionally gifted storytelling talents. While very highly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections..."

About S. L. Mauldin

S. L. Mauldin is an optioned screenwriter and the author of the young adult novel Life Sliding and the forthcoming teen fiction novel Always Here. Shannon was born in the suburbs of Atlanta, where he now resides and continues to write books for teens, but stories relatable to readers beyond those turbulent adolescent years. Currently, S. L. Mauldin is preparing a live stage presentation of Life Sliding and is in pre-development of the feature film.

I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mobile Phone Safety for Parents by Family Orbit

Mobile Phone Safety for Parents is a complete guide that can help you get to know and understand ways in which your teenager and other children may potentially use or abuse their smartphone. This guide will not only explore the features and benefits of smartphones but also provide you with safety tips, which will allow you to monitor your child and help them to make the most of their device.

Here is a preview of what you will learn in this comprehensive guide:
  • Proven ways of assessing your child’s maturity to use a cell phone or not
  • Six essential actions you must take when you get your child his/her first cell phone
  • How to identify and manage bad phone behaviour
  • How to help your child use his/her device with responsibility
  • How to teach cell phone care to your young one and much more.
  • Recommended family safety apps to install on their cell phone.

You will be guilty of helping your children abuse their smartphone if you do not educate them properly. Mobile Phone Safety for Parents will show how to this with love.

Visit the site here to download your free copy.