Once in a while TLC Books contacts me about reviewing a book because they know I enjoy anything focused on neuropsychology. When I was an undergrad at Baylor, my favorite class was neuroscience, and when I was working on my masters degree I focused on neuropsychology classes, and did my thesis in that area as well. I love to keep up with new trends in the field, and appreciate the opportunity to read new books that come out.
Square Peg - My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers, by L. Todd Rose, is one such book. However, don't be scared if just the term neuropsychology intimidates you - this book is written to appeal to the average reader. The book is partially memoir - Todd Rose was the type of kid that struggled immensely in school. He acted out so much that he was often suspended, and his mother lost friends because of his behavior. Eventually, his lack of impulse control and overall frustration resulted in him dropping out of school.
Todd Rose was diagnosed with ADHD, and he feels like in some ways the education system failed him. Part of the purpose of Rose's book is to make suggestions of ways the system needs to change to better accomodate all styles of learning. Rose backs up his suggestions with a wide variety of statistics and scientific studies, which I found fascinating. He explains these studies in simple terms, that the average reader will have no difficulty in comprehending. In addition, at the end of each chaper he summarizes with 'Big Ideas' that have been covered, along with 'Action Items' - things you can do to help make positive changes in the life of someone you know who might be struggling in school or at home.
By far, my favorite section of the book was towards the end, when Rose writes of changes in technology that may help future students with learning differences to be more successful. The potential for positive change is impressive, and while there may be a balancing act along the way (to make sure that schools don't overuse technology in lieu of student/teacher interactions and group work), it warmed my heart to know that years from now there may not be as many troubled and frustrated students in school.
In case you're wondering, the story also has a happy ending for Todd Rose. Against the odds, he today he is a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he teaches educational neuroscience.