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Helen Hoffman and Janet Rosenstock.

Markham (ON), PaperJacks, c1982.
189pp, paper, $2.95.
ISBN 0-7701-0227-1.

Reviewed by Glenn DiPasquale.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

"Help is wonderful, experts are sometimes necessary; information overload, on the other hand, can be deadly." This quote, from "mind trick" number eighty-one, is ironically a rather cogent criticism of this book itself. It is organized much like a cookbook and delivers exactly what the cover notes promise: "Hundreds of helpful, useful ideas for enjoying and coping with your children." How any parent could possibly digest these hundreds of ideas, however, is beyond comprehension, let alone put them into practice. For this reason alone one would need to be cautious about recommending this book, especially to distraught parents looking for help.

The chapters addressing learning disabilities are of questionable value in my view. The authors, one of whom has a handicapped child, discount the expertise of every educational professional and suggest instead that parents go directly to a neurologist. In fact, studies have shown that few neurologists or medical practitioners of any ilk are knowledgeable about educational problems. Nonetheless, the authors present only the medical model of learning disabilities, suggesting that their own research in the area is somewhat dated.

Despite the above criticisms, one has to admit that this book has a certain charm. It is tempered with just the right touch of humour, and many of the ideas presented are unique, creative, and insightful. A selective, critical reader could undoubtedly glean a good deal of practical wisdom from the book. The average parent, however, may be at risk for terminal confusion because of the aforementioned information overload.

Glenn DiPasquale, York County Board of Education, Newmarket, ON.
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