On the rise: Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism

Last week the results of a new study by academics at UCL and Goldsmiths revealed that up to 10% of children are affected by specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism. In real terms, this translates to two or three pupils per class.

With the numbers of children affected higher than previously thought, bringing the right information to parents and teachers should clearly be a priority. For teachers, SEN training is not yet compulsory, meaning that children with specific learning difficulties may not receive all the support they require. For a parent, realising that your child thinks differently to you – not just what they think, but the way their brain works – adds a whole new challenge to the early years, the school years, the teenage years and beyond.

Souvenir Press is one of the leading publishers on specific learning disabilities. But with more and more parents going online to get advice and information, take a look below at some of the fantastic resources we’ve found online:

  • Read the full report on the learning disabilities study, from Science Daily
  • Check out Netbuddy – an online community with a wealth of practical tips from people with first-hand experience of learning disability, autism and special needs
  • A Boy With Aspergers is a very interesting parent blog, and is one of the Tots100 top parent bloggers for April
  • Looking for Blue Sky is another popular parent blog, described as “special needs and other stuff”
  • In fact, take a look at this list of the top 20 UK Special Needs Parenting Blogs

If you’re a parent of a child with specific learning disabilities, we’d love to hear from you. What online resources do you recommend? Does your child receive all the support they need in school? Leave us a comment at the bottom of this post.

And if that’s not enough, here are three fantastic books from us at Souvenir Press:

The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis is one of the few books on dyslexia written by someone with dyslexia. One of the best-selling education books in the world, the Davis Method outlined in the book is taught in over 40 countries worldwide.

Dyspraxia by Amanda Kirby, the UK’s leading authority on Dyspraxia, and the mother of a dyspraxic child. It is a practical guide for parents, giving a comprehensive outline of what dyspraxia is and how it can affect a child, as well as giving advice as to how best to overcome the difficulties caused by dyspraxia.

Autism with Severe Learning Difficulties by Rita Jordan is a classic in its field, a practical and straightforward guide that will be invaluable to parents and carers alike.


Happy St. George’s Day!

What better time to celebrate all things English, whether you’re going to watch some dragon slaying (re-enactments are happening all across the country, according to this list of events on the Visit England website), going to a parade, or flying the flag with pride.

Here at Souvenir Press, we’re celebrating in our own way. Terribly English by Rupert Besley is the perfect guide to all of England’s peculiar quirks and eccentricities, and everything that makes England so wonderfully, um, unique. From cricket and Shakespeare, to our fascination with the weather, here’s your chance to explore with a county-by-county guide to England’s best bits.

Packed with cartoons, this is the perfect gift for baffled visitor or the curious native, Terribly English celebrates England at it’s most… English.

Take a look at the short extract below, taken from Rupert Besley’s Terribly English (published 2012 by Souvenir Press):

The Ten Commandments in English

  1. Thou shalt underplay things generally
  2. Thou shalt not leave thy chariot in thy neighbour’s parking spot
  3. Thou shalt pretend to get the joke even when thou doesn’t
  4. Thou shalt have a different sauce to hide the taste of every dish thou tasteth
  5. If thou seeeth a queue, thou shalt join it – at the right end
  6. Thou shalt have appalling dress sense
  7. Thou shalt mock thy betters
  8. Thou shalt spend thy senior years looking out to sea
  9. Thou shalt always lose on penalties
  10. Thou shalt not talk about things like politics, religion, philosophy, illness, money or sex.

Terribly English penalty shoot out

Text and illustration © 2012 by Rupert Besley.

Another week, another set of wonderful reviews!

It’s been a busy week here in the Souvenir Press office. Monday-Wednesday was the London Book Fair, with meetings and events continuing throughout the week. But finally, on Friday afternoon, I’ve found a moment to bring you the round-up of all the wonderful reviews that have come in this week.

How Puzzles Improve Your Brain by Richard Restak and Scott Kim

“[The] puzzles were beautifully designed and a nice progression to help keep your thought processes working… It made me think and play in ways I had not done before and actually explained what my brain was doing whilst attempting these puzzles.” – Kevin on the PuzzleMad blog

“A very readable look at thinking and an excellent selection of puzzles to enhance brain function.” – The Book Bag

Bum Fodder by Richard Smyth

“Quite apart from the sheer entertainment provided by the book, I can say that I have actually learnt a considerable amount… The thinking person’s toilet library should now begin with three core acquisitions: Sale, Nohain/Caradec, and now Smyth.” – Jonathan Pinnock

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

“The latest edition includes updated research, better quality reproductions of the Old Master paintings and also work by recent students who followed the course. Their drawings certainly make a compelling case for how successful the approach is.” – Artists & Illustrators magazine, May 2013

Leisure Painter magazine, May 2013, featured the book as part of their article ‘How do I draw that?’

If you’re interested in finding out more about any of our titles at Souvenir Press, feel free to email me asking for a copy of our latest catalogue.

Introducing: The Vein of Gold

This is our fourth new title for Spring 2013, and the fourth post in our ‘Introducing’ series.

The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron is the companion book to her best-selling The Artist’s Way. If you have already followed the path outlined in The Artist’s Way, this new book will guide you on the next stage of your creative journey.

Featuring inspiring teachings on the creative process, The Vein of Gold contains more than one hundred imaginative and energising tasks to inspire and engage the reader, and to lead to spiritual growth, renewal and healing. This book inspires artistic mindful living, assuring the reader that creativity can be a spiritual path leading to personal growth.

Whether you are already actively pursuing a creative enterprise or are just beginning to nurture your own creativity, this powerful book provides the innovative, inspiring  and practical tools to help you embrace your artistic side.

So whether you’re looking to write that novel you’ve been thinking about for the last six months, start painting, or even start blogging, The Vein of Gold will help you to discover the power of your own creativity, and introduce you to an artistic way of life. Available in paperback and as an e-bookThe Vein of Gold is out now.

New Spring titles now available from Souvenir Press:


Introducing: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

This is our third post in the ‘Introducing’ series showcasing for you our new spring titles for 2013. If you missed our previous posts, take a look at How Puzzles Improve Your Brain and Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? This is the first of two ‘Introducing’ posts we’ve got for you this week, because tomorrow we are publishing two creative bibles from two ladies known as the Queens of Creativity.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards is the expanded and updated fourth edition of the world’s most widely used drawing instruction book. This step-by-step guide will help to increase your artistic confidence and boost your creativity.

Previous editions of this book have already sold over two million copies, and this revised and updated fourth edition, updated to consider the technological effects of twenty-first century living,  is already attracting a lot of attention in the media, particularly the art magazines. With a new chapter on the five basic perceptual skills of drawing, providing a practical step-by-step approach to drawing, and new exercises to help your perception “cross over” from the dominant left-brain mode to the right, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is a must for artistic professionals, students or anyone who enjoys drawing as a hobby.

Perhaps, like me, your artistic abilities just about stretch to stick figures, but you’ve always wanted to be able to draw, this is for you. The Artist magazine calls it “an essential beginning”, and Leisure Painter calls it “a landmark in drawing tuition”.

Available as an illustrated hardcover and as an e-bookDrawing on the Right Side of the Brain is published tomorrow, 11th April. What are you waiting for – sharpen those pencils, get yourself a lovely new sketchbook, and give it a go.


Competitions and reviews galore!

It’s all go here at Souvenir HQ. With two new books published next week, and the London Book Fair the week after, I think it’s fair to say that we’re keeping busy in our Great Russell Street office. But somehow we’ve still found time to bring you info on a couple of exciting competitions happening at the minute, as well as a bumper round-up of reviews we’ve found on the web this week.

First up, it’s competition time!

If you’re into everything equine, we suggest you head over to NewRider.com where you can win copies of two of our horse training guides:

The Art and Science of Clicker Training for Horses by Ben Hart is a clear, concise and accessible guide that will help you develop a positive approach to horse training.

Talking with Horses by Henry Blake was the first book of its kind, and a pioneer in the field of horse communication. Learn to communicate with your horse in his own language and you will learn to work together with your horse, moving and thinking as one animal.

Or, if you or a close friend or relative is expecting, take a look at BabyWorld.co.ukThey are giving ten lucky mums (or dads)-to-be the chance to win a copy of Jena Pincott’s new book. The competition closes on 30th April:

Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? answers a whole host of questions about pregnancy. Rather than being a how-to guide, this fascinating book covers the why, the QI of maternity books.

While we’re on the subject of Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies, this week brought us our first reader review over on The Garden Window blog:

“Clearly written in a lucid and highly engaging way, Jena Pincott has masterfully turned extremely complex scientific research into an easily understandable and always enjoyable book… this is an utterly absorbing book” – The Garden Window blog

Jena Pincott’s new book was also featured in the Daily Express this week, and you can read their extract from the book here.

We have also had a flurry of reviews arrive (with yesterday’s April snow, perhaps) for a variety of titles, old and new.

One of our Autumn 2012 titles, Jessica Thom’s wonderful Welcome To Biscuit Land, which features a foreword by Stephen Fry and which has done wonders raising awareness and understanding of Tourettes Syndrome, was reviewed by the wonderful Jo who runs the book blog Jaffareadstoo:

“Jessica has with great wit and charm completely overturned my thinking about Tourette’s syndrome, and those whose lives are affected bit it.” – Jaffareadstoo blog

We’ve had yet more praise for Brain Games for your Child by Robert Fisher, which top parent bloggers have been loving recently. You can read previous reviews here, and be sure to check out the whole review by Mummy Lion.

“If you’re sitting at home… wondering what you will do to entertain your children while they’re off school for two long cold weeks then I think I have found the solution… I thoroughly recommend this book and will be using it lots this snowy Easter of 2013 and beyond.” – Mummy Lion blog

I also found this very detailed, in-depth review of How Puzzles Improve Your Brain by Richard Restak and Scott Kim, over on SFcrowsnet.org:

“The more you read this book, the more you’ll become aware of the different memory aspects you have. Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are with these, not to mention how to exercise them, should enhance your own memory.” – SFcrowsnest

Over the Easter weekend, How Puzzles Improve Your Brain was also featured in the Mail on Sunday, but the feature isn’t available online.

That’s all for this week. We’ll be back on Monday bringing you our latest newsletter (you can sign up here), and information on our new books.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Meditation and Mindful Living

In the high-paced Western world, meditation has become a recognised method for countering stress. But its origins were spiritual, in the Hindu traditions of Vedanta, in the Taoist traditions, and in Buddhism.

For Jane Hamilton-Merritt, author of A Meditator’s Diary and one of the first women to be accepted for instruction in intensive meditation in a Buddhist temple in Thailand, her meditative journey went back to the spiritual roots of this practice.

The desired goal of this meditation is… to provide man with an opportunity to see the truth… that the self is not personal, nor permanent, nor static; and, consequently that the individual does not exist as a permanent and identifiable entity. – Jane Hamilton-Merritt, from the introduction to A Meditator’s Diary

In a modern society that places such importance of the individual, it is no surprise that Eastern philosophies and traditions are increasingly popular, viewed as an alternative to the feelings of isolation that are prevalent in the individualist Western society. Meditation as Jane Hamilton-Merritt experienced it, whilst being a personal journey, enabled her to find a sense of the flow of the universe, to re-establish her sense of connection with the world, that is often forgotten in the Western world.

And while Jane Hamilton-Merritt was instructed in one particular type of Buddhist meditation, many of the lessons she learnt echo throughout Eastern teachings. Alan Watts, in his book Tao: The Watercourse Way described the Taoist world view:

Every thing-event is what it is only in relation to all others.

And in The Book, which draws on the Vedanta traditions from which the practice of meditation originated, Alan Watts explores the idea of the “self” in relation to the universe, interdependent on it rather than a separate entity.

We are in urgent need of a sense of our own existence which is in accord with the physical facts and which overcomes our feeling of alienation from the universe. – Alan Watts, from the preface to The Book

Whatever your views on Eastern philosophy and thought, it is clear that it can and does change lives. Perhaps it is time for more of us to start reconnecting with the world, rather than everyone living in isolation.

Have you ever tried meditation, either for relaxation or spiritual purposes? We’d love to hear about your experiences.

The Book     meditators diary     tao