About the author:
Farida Raj, a mainstream school teacher in Mumbai, turned to special education when she felt she had a lot more to offer to the student community. She trained to teach children with Cerebral Palsy, did in-service training in the UK, and worked at the school run by The Spastic Society of India, Mumbai. But it was when she moved to Hyderabad that she found her true calling – teaching children with learning disabilities. She found there were some students in every class who remained academically poor despite the support offered by teachers, tuition teachers, and parents. She trained and became a remedial educator to teach children with Specific Learning Disabilities [SLDs ]. It became her obsession to create awareness about this hidden handicap. She wrote a number of articles for the popular English Daily- Deccan Chronicle, The New Indian Express, The Hindu, and also the Urdu Daily, Siasat. She set up a Centre for Special Education where children are assessed and provided remedial education. She authored “Breaking Through”, A handbook for teachers and parents of children with SLD’s and Understanding Learning Difficulties for Cambridge University Press. Authored 3 books on women’s health in the Urdu language Recipient of Laadli Media Award 2010-2011 for gender sensitivity Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from Urdu Academy, Government of State of Telangana. She is a certified REBT Counsellor providing psychological counseling to children, adolescents, and parents. She is a life member; – The palliative care society of Hyderabad. -Life member of the Craft Council of Telangana
– Member of NGO, ‘Break the Silence”, working on the prevention of child sexual abuse
– Executive committee member of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Hyderabad
– Faculty – Board of Genetic Counselling India [BGCI]
Summary of the book:
Struggling Minds is a valuable resource for school teachers to understand Why failure happens with some children who otherwise have average to above-average intelligence. It makes it very clear to the reader why some children have tremendous difficulties with classroom learning. Through actual case studies such as spelling errors and handwriting samples, the book clearly illustrates these learning difficulties. Useful guidance is provided to teachers to identify learners with such problems and decide whether to handle such issues in the classroom or seek professional help. The key features of the book are;
-Samples of handwriting and spelling errors
-Analysis of the learning difficulties
-Common signs and symptoms to help identify such cases
-Strategies for handling some of these challenges in the classroom
- Can you tell us a little about your book?
This book is a comprehensive guide for teachers, parents, or anyone who is puzzled with ‘what is wrong with my child?’, ‘Why can’t he/she learn to like the others?’, ‘How do I help him/her?’. written in simple language with abundant examples, the book brings into focus this ‘hidden handicap which is estimated to affect 10% of the population.
- Is there a specific event that inspired this story or was this an out-of-the-blue idea?
It was an encounter with a child in a mainstream school where I was teaching English. He was very poor in spelling. One day after dictation, when as usual he got most spellings wrong, I admonished him and he shouted “I don’t understand what you Teach”. It was a defining moment for me. It dawned on me that it is children like him whom I would like to help. And from here my journey into special education began.
- What got you writing in the first place?
I wanted to create awareness about specific learning difficulties in the general public.
- What was your impression of your first draft when you read it?
I was very pleased.
- Which part of your story connects the most with you? Why?
The chapter on Emotional Difficulties resonates with me because it directly impacts your life, be it academic or social.
- What makes your book the one to read?
This book is the need of the hour. 10% of our school-going population has learning difficulties popularly known as Dyslexia. This book will not only give parents and teachers an understanding of specific learning difficulties but also how to remediate them.
- What was the best advice you got while writing?
Have an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow style.
- Do you have another plot brewing?
Yes. I am working on a book on Multiple Sclerosis. It will soon be ready for publication