Cover image for How the special needs brain learns
How the special needs brain learns
Sousa, David A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Corwin Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
ix, 237 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LC4704.5 .S68 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



′ The book′s greatest strength may be its logical explanation of why today′s students develop and learn differently, so that a functionally unchanging educational system is no longer appropriate in meeting learner needs′ - Choice

From the author of the How the Brain Learns comes a new book dealing with special needs students. How the Special Needs Brain Learns helps you turn research on the brain function of students with various learning challenges into practical classroom activities and strategies.

David A Sousa shows how the brain processes information, and examines both simple and complex learning strategies that can be adopted and taught to your students. The first step for students with learning disabilities is teaching them to build self-esteem, strategies for engagement and retention, and how to work in groups. This book focuses on the most common challenges to learning for many students, especially for those who are often the first candidates for special education referral, and emphasizes lifelong independent learning, increased retention, and cognitive flexibility for all.

David A Sousa builds on the latest brain research to discuss teaching strategies for students challenged by:


- Speech Disabilities

- Reading Disabilities

- Writing Disabilities

- Math Disabilities

- Sleep Disorders

- Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

- Autism

- Asperger′s Syndrome

Today′s classrooms embrace students of all abilities, and David A Sousas, latest work provides the most up-to-date information and insight on how to work effectively with each one of them. Offering real strategies for real classrooms, How the Special Needs Brain Learns is an indispensable tool for all educators - school administrators and teachers, staff developers, pre-service students, and even parents who want to better understand the way their children process and retain information.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In recent years the prefix "pop" has become a common fixture in society with accepted terms such as pop-culture and pop-art. Sousa adds a new category for pop-SPED because of this book's style, content, and topical focus. The book proposes to look at the evolving field of brain research but, in general, has trouble living up to its name. Sousa contradicts himself (and the book title) by clearly stating that in this volume, special needs does not include students classified for special education services. Yet, the book dedicates significant space to groupings such as speech disorders, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, autism, and behavior disorders. Even individuals with minimal understanding of exceptionality will recognize that these classifications are used when speaking of special education services. Although not written for academic scholars, the book provides readable descriptions of the structure and workings of the brain. Likewise, the volume includes many simplified lists of characteristics, accommodations, teaching/remedial strategies, and defined terms. The book's greatest strength may be its logical explanation of why today's students develop and learn differently, so that a functionally unchanging educational system is no longer appropriate in meeting learner needs. Of limited use to those seeking a more academic discussion of the subject but recommended for general readers and lower-division undergraduates. R. Ludy Buena Vista University

Table of Contents

List of Strategies to Consider
About the Author
Preface to the Second Edition
Who Are Special Needs Students?
Can Brain Research Help?
What Is in This Book?
A Word of Caution
1 The Brain and Learning
Some Exterior Parts of the Brain
Lobes of the Brain
Motor Cortex and Somatosensory Cortex
Some Interior Parts of the Brain
Limbic Area
Brain Cells
Learning and Retention
Implications for Students With Learning Disabilities
Learning Motor Skills
How Different Are the Brains of Today's Students?
The Search for Novelty
Have Schools Changed to Deal With This Different Brain?
2 When Learning Difficulties Arise
Research Examines Learning Disabilities
Possible Causes of Learning Disabilities
Gender Differences
What Forms of Instruction Are Most Effective?
Misconceptions About Learning Disabilities
Gifted Children With Learning Disabilities
Responsiveness to Intervention
Key Elements of Responsiveness to Intervention
Helping Students Become Strategic Learners
What Is Learning?
Learning Difficulties of Students With Learning Disabilities
What Are Learning Strategies?
How Important Is Self-Esteem?
3 Attention Disorders
Research Findings
What Is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
What Causes ADHD?
Is ADHD Inherited?
IS ADHD on the Increase?
Is it Possible to Have ADHD-Like Behavior and Not Have ADHD?
The Future of ADHD Research and Treatment
What Educators Need to Consider
4 Speech Disabilities
Learning Spoken Language
Is Language Prewired in the Brain?
Speech and Language Patterns by Age
Putting the Language Components Together
Problems in Learning Spoken Language
Language Problems With Children and Adolescents
Language Deficits and Learning a Second Language
The Future of Speech-Language Disorders Research
What Educators Need to Consider
5 Reading Disabilities
Learning to Read
Is Reading a Natural Ability?
Spoken Language and Reading
Decoding and Comprehension
Difficulties in Learning to Read
Social and Cultural Causes of Reading Problems
Physical Causes of Reading Problems
Is Dyslexia Present in Readers of Other Languages?
Brain Imaging Studies and Dyslexia
Detecting Reading Problems
Spoken Language Difficulties
Early Indicators of Reading Problems
What Educators Need to Consider
What Teachers Should Know About Teaching Reading
What Beginning Readers Need to Learn
Some Effective Reading Intervention Programs
6 Writing Disabilities
Learning to Write
Difficulties in Writing
Environmental Causes
Neurological Causes
What Educators Need to Consider
Characterisitics of Good Writing
Helping Students With Dysgraphia
7 Mathematical Disabilities
Learning to Calculate
Numerical Reasoning Independent of Language
Gender Differences in Mathematics
Difficulties in Mathematics
The Future of Research in Mathematics Disorders
What Educators Need to Consider
Determining the Source of the Problem
Diagnostic Tools for Assessing Learning Difficulties in Mathematics
Other Considerations
8 Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Emotions, Behavior, and Learning
Pathways of Emotional Signals
Different Brain Areas for Different Emotions
First Survival and Emotions, Then the Textbook
Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Depressive Disorders
Other Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Impact of Childhood Abuse
The Future of Research in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
What Educators Need to Consider
9 Autism Spectrum Disorders
Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders
The Future of Research on Autism Spectrum Disorders
What Educators Need to Consider
10 Putting It All Together
Helping Students With Learning Difficulties
Identifying Students With Learning Difficulties
Accommodating Students With Learning Difficulties
Motivating Students With Learning Difficulties
Communicating With Parents