If you have, or work with, hyperlexic or other special needs children, you will be interested in Priscilla Gilman’s new memoir, The Anti-Romantic Child. The book is about Gilman’s experience shepherding her young hyperlexic son, Benj, through babyhood, preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school.  Gilman covers in great detail Benj’s developmental delays, social skills deficits, experiences with pediatricians, therapists, mainstream and special schools, and relationships.  Some of the unnamed schools Gilman references are on Manhattan’s Upper West Side which adds an extra layer of interest as readers can try to guess which schools they are.

At one point, Gilman applies to twenty NYC private and public schools.  (Thank goodness, Benj is accepted to one.)  A developmental pediatrician tells Gilman,

“You can’t be average and you can’t be difficult or probematic to get into a private school in New York City.  Schools in New York City don’t want average kids, and they also don’t want kids who cry and break down, they don’t want fragile kids.  You have to have at least 84 percent composite score on the ERBs (the standardized test required for admission to private school in New York.)”

Reading the book, I felt sorry for Gilman that she did not have access to Toby Glick, an extraordinary special needs educational consultant who specializes in helping families understand their children’s problems and get the right therapists and schooling.  A year or so ago, I referred a hyperlexic child to Toby.  Right away, after Toby read the child’s evaluations and spoke to his teachers, she was able to help the boy get into an appropriate school.  (And that family did not have to apply to twenty schools.)  If you have a special needs child or know someone who does who needs help, you can reach Toby at 646-300-1881 or Toby(at)ParentConfidante.com.