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Like Sound Through Water    by Karen J. Foli order for
Like Sound Through Water
by Karen J. Foli
Order:  USA  Can
Atria, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What an incredible book! In it, Karen Foli describes her painful five year 'Journey Through Auditory Processing Disorder' with her small son Ben. She gives the reader a window into the family's daily life and her own perspective on events, as Ben's learning difficulties become apparent. His parents struggle to make sense of them, to obtain relevant remediation for their child, and to cope with the logistics of providing that assistance. Foli does not gush, but her restrained style only emphasizes the love and support the author and her husband clearly have for young Ben.

Having spent some time helping in a local learning center, I have encountered the anguish that this author describes at first hand, as parents struggle to understand what can be done for their children. As Foli says at the end 'information is power' but 'it's very difficult for a parent to navigate the varied professionals who diagnose concurrent problems ... The child ends up with an alphabet soup of diagnoses after his name' and the parents don't know what to do or where to go next. Foli leads us through the steps that she took. She shares difficulties like the insensitivity of some (but only some) professionals, the marital stress and guilt that parents feel, the impact on other children when one child has a time-consuming need for support, and her own frequent anxiety and self-doubt.

The author also describes in some detail the therapies that helped Ben, and she seems to have worked through many of the current ones including Fast ForWord, Lindamood-Bell and LiPS. She includes a guide to help parents deal with professionals and includes a description of signals that identify a need for intervention. Parents of children with any kind of learning difficulty or other special needs, will be able to relate to the experiences of this author and to empathize with her feelings. Those who are fortunate enough to have avoided such problems with their kids can still share and appreciate the journey that the author took, one which tested her 'again and again'.

Karen Foli is a registered nurse who also holds a Ph.D. in communications research. Her husband is a psychiatrist. Finding the right help for Ben was a painful and arduous process for them. What I was left with after reading Like Sound Through Water (aside from a profound admiration for its author) was concern for other parents - those who are not empowered with the resources to help their children obtain remediation. I hope the book has a wide readership amongst people in a position to do something about this.

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