Getting Through the Early Days of a Child's Diagnosis of Learning Disabilities and Related Disorders
I had no signposts to follow back then. I had no idea what to do or who to turn to. Worst of all was the crushing sense of isolation, the feeling that I was the only one going through it and that no one could possibly understand.
— Anne Ford in "Laughing Allegra"
Anne Ford’s first book, Laughing Allegra, was a memoir of raising a daughter born with severe learning disabilities and how that experience affected and shaped her family. Her second book, On Their Own, continued the story as Allegra entered adulthood by focusing on the challenges common to adults with LD as they embark on an independent life.
Since then, she has spoken to countless mothers, all eager to share their stories. Despite the fact that Ms. Ford is a "Ford" (of the Ford Motor Company family), she knows that "lifestyle, income level, social circles — all the externals that too often separate us — diminish when a mother is sitting alone somewhere, wondering if there is anyone out there who can help her child." These mothers share so many things in common — so many hopes for their children, so much of the same pain, so many of the same experiences.
Ms. Ford had many reasons for writing this new book. First and foremost, she wanted to praise our heroes — the mothers, all mothers. This book was written in recognition of the role of a mother in the life of a disabled child and to give hope to those mothers who might be just starting out on their journey with learning disabilities.
Throughout A Special Mother: Getting Through the Early Days of a Child's Diagnosis of Learning Disabilities and Related Disorders, Ms. Ford suggests a number of key resources — publications, websites, and organizations — that will be useful to the mother who is in the "early days" of the LD journey. We’ve listed these resources below, especially for readers of A Special Mother.
LD.org Resources in A Special Mother
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), through our LD.org website, provides parents of children with learning disabilities — from pre-school age through adulthood — with free, easy-to-access, and trustworthy information about LD or related disorders, tools to be effective partners with school personnel, and national, state or local resources.
- Learning Disabilities Checklist of Signs and Symptoms
This checklist covers a range of domains and behaviors — developmental milestones — in preschool-age children and on up through adulthood.
- IDEA Parent Guide
This comprehensive guide is a “must read” publication for everyone whose child may be struggling with learning or whose child has been identified with a learning disability.
- Worksheet for Organizing Your Concerns About School-Related Problems
This worksheet will help you to prepare for meetings with your child’s teacher and other school personnel.
- Sample Letter Requesting Evaluation
Use this letter as your guide when requesting that your child be evaluated for LD.
- Resource Locator
This tool will help you to find services in your local area.
Additional Resources in A Special Mother
- Ask Dr. Silver — Questions About LD Diagnosis and Management Options (LDOnline)
- Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
- International Dyslexia Association
- Learning Disabilities Association of America
- National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
- National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
- Pacer Center
- Parent Training and Information Centers
- Smart Kids with LD
Related Books by Anne Ford with John-Richard Thompson
Connect with the Authors
More about the authors:
Anne Ford served as Chairman of the Board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) from 1989 to 2001. During her term as Chair, Mrs. Ford led the reorganization and broad expansion of NCLD, including establishing a presence in Washington, D.C., and organizing educational summits on learning disabilities in several regions of the United States. She was appointed to the Department of Health and Human Services Commission on Childhood Disabilities, as the representative for learning disabilities and was a member of the New York State Board of Regents Select Committee on Disabilities.
John-Richard Thompson is an award-winning playwright and novelist. His play Indigo Rat, set in Berlin, Germany, during World War II, ran for a year in New York City and received a MAC Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs. His other plays include Rain House, Water Sheerie, Fruit Bat Safari Camp, and The Glass Bird. He currently lives in New York City. He is the co-author of A Special Mother.