Countless parenting books focus on specific learning or social challenges, such as autism, but few explore the possibility that there might be more than one reason a child struggles. In Child Decoded: Unlocking Complex Issues in Your Child’s Learning, Behavior or Attention, three editors—an applied physiologist, a developmental neuropsychologist, and a freelance writer and former trauma specialist—explore the big picture of diagnosing these overlapping disorders. As editor Kim Gangwish puts it, “I felt no one was looking at the larger patterns in a child’s profile.”
The book opens with Marijke Jones’ personal story about her son C.J., “an enigma from the start” who was finally diagnosed as “twice exceptional,” both gifted and learning disabled, with several processing disorders. For C.J., his mother writes, “It was like having both the accelerator and the brake on all the time.”
Blending the depth of a medical reference book with the conversational tone of a wise, caring friend who’s been there, Child Decoded delves into a range of issues, from nutritional imbalances and food allergies to math and writing dysfunctions, dyslexia, vision disorders, speech and language impediments, even Lyme disease, as well as exacerbating issues such as stress and sleep deprivation.
The editors include a 5-page symptoms checklist that steers parents to corresponding chapters, along with a helpful primer on navigating the school system and success stories from parents, therapists and teachers. They also suggest a number of solutions, from CAM (complementary and alternative) therapies to medication and everything in between, in a fair and balanced way.
Despite its bulk (more than 400 pages), Child Decoded is nearly flawless in its readability, presentation and storytelling. Even those without a direct tie to this topic will learn from the intriguing and accessible explanations of certain conditions and perhaps set aside their stereotypes about difficult children. And parents struggling to find answers to their children’s puzzling behavior will likely enjoy more than a few “Aha!” moments while reading this fabulous guidebook.
Also available as an ebook.