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Book review: Learning Disability - Identification and Assessment by Dr B Ramaswamy
With emphasis on inclusive education and extended recognition of 21 disabilities by the government, books on learning disabilities for special educators are being sought after.

The hardbound book 'Learning Disability ? Identification and Assessment' by Dr B Ramaswami and published by Kamshka Publishers, New Delhi, provides an introductory overview of the core elements of learning disabilities.

The book is divided into eight chapters that talk about learning disabilities, with in-depth discussion on major disabilities along with testing for LDs, and lists out related leading institutions working on the subject. Five appendices give additional information on learning disabilities, the disorder as attended to in the United States, status report of India, policies and guidelines and various ongoing research programs.

The concept of learning disability is explained in a simple and lucid language that students as well mothers would understand. The author uses the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) definition of Learning Disability (LD) "?a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia."

The first chapter introduces learning disability, its different types and signs, and briefly touches upon the causes, treatment needs and therapies. The second chapter gives an overview of disability typology with emphasis on select learning disabilities. However, the section on causes and risk factors is not relevant to LDs. Figures for prevalence of LD are drawn largely from US and Canada, data from India is lacking. Chapters 3 to 5 provide an in-depth understanding on learning, special needs and reading disability, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and Landlau-Kleffner Syndrome. Chapters 6 discusses the definitions of LD using exclusion and inclusion criteria and deals with the pros and cons of different methods of identification of LD. Chapter 7 provides an understanding of LD testing. The hardbound edition of the book spread over 350 pages works as a handbook for special educators and training institutions to provide useful information on learning disabilities limited to select categories.

The book is written with an understanding of LD mainly from US.The book will be useful for researchers, policy makers, and government departments dealing with health, education and welfare of disabled persons as well as mothers and other persons providing care for disabled family members. However, more emphasis could have been given to guidelines for special educators as well. Since the book has been brought out as a library edition, it should have included some research studies to add to its value as a reference book.

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