Children with developmental disabilities inhabit a gray zone: they live and learn under normal conditions in some aspects of their lives, while their "inconvenient brains" present a range of challenges in other school and life contexts. Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla provides parents and educators with general knowledge, research findings, and practical recommendations about a variety of these developmental conditions, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, problems with motor coordination, and executive dysfunction. Inspired by her efforts to explain these conditions to parents over 45 years of clinical practice, she provides a science-based understanding of the issues in an accessible format. She uses the science of cognitive and behavioral neurology to help readers understand how the interrelationships of brain, environment, and behavior produce these developmental disorders, and to provide a basis for parenting and education programs based upon understanding how variations in brain development should guide plans for what is taught when to whom. Such developmentally appropriate, evidence-based, differentiated instruction within general education can diminish the demand for separate special education, and will thus serve all kinds of brains, whether "typical" or "inconvenient."
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Brain Development Relevant to "Inconveniences"; 3. Promoters and Enhancers of Learning and Development; 4. Specific Language Impairments; 5. Motor Coordination Factors Contributing to School Problems; 6. Executive Function; 7. Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD); 8. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); 9. Dyslexia; 10. Math and Miscellaneous Learning Disabilities; 11. Neuromythology; 12. An Inconvenient Brain in the Context of Changes in Educational Environments
Martha Bridge Denckla, M.D., is an honors graduate of Harvard Medical School who trained in Cognitive/Behavioral Neurology with Norman Geschwind. She has worked in hospitals affiliated with Columbia and Harvard Universities before the longest span of her career at the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins. For half a century she has devoted clinical and research efforts to developmental learning disabilities and related school problems, contributing to more than 200 publications. Dr. Denckla has taught educators as well as those with neurological backgrounds.
"Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla’s Understanding Learning and Related Disabilities: Inconvenient Brains is an invaluable resource for educators, parents, and others hoping to understand the complex nature of developmental disorders among children. Drawing on over 45 years of clinical experience, she presents the science of cognitive and behavioral neurology and then bridges this science to practical applications that can be used in both parenting and educational contexts. Readers will acquire the knowledge, research background, and recommendations for enhancing the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities. This book is a ‘must read’ for educators, parents, and education policy-makers."
– Mariale Hardiman, Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Neuro-Education Initiative
"Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla has written a masterful, accessible, and researched-based synopsis of what is known about the brain basis of multiple developmental disorders commonly seen in school-age children. This book is an invaluable resource for teachers and parents in terms of understanding the brain systems involved in various neurodevelopmental disorders and explaining how and why learning differences occur in disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism, and dyslexia."
– Laurie Cutting, Vanderbilt University
"Dr. Denckla is an acknowledged and respected expert in child neurology and its developmental foundations. This expertise is best manifest in her voluminous knowledge about learning and language-based disorders. And now we are lucky to have this knowledge embedded in her book that is not only for educators and parents but also for anyone who wants to understand the WHY of higher cognitive disorders in children in a coherent manner that explains the underpinnings of the disorders and does not just repeat diagnostic criteria and review facts in a time worn manner. Her insights provide the reader with pearls about the history, ramifications and outcomes of these disorders gleaned from her knowledge, experience and lessons learned from the children themselves. Every reader, no matter their level of proficiency in this field, will learn and will improve their ability to understand and communicate the essence and impact of these disorders."
– Max Wiznitzer, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine