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My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir by Samantha…
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My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir

by Samantha Abeel

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Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
Samantha Abeel's cathartic memoir, My Thirteenth Winter, is difficult to put down as she recounts her experience with dyscalculia before and after her official diagnosis. I greatly enjoyed the author's balance between reflective narrative and story telling. Each recounting reveals the difficult emotions and challenges she faces in school and in life, building into a cohesive and moving story of how she adapted to her learning disability. While reading the book, I was particularly struck by Abeel's experience before and during the diagnostic process. I realized the importance of teachers learning about disabilities and being receptive to parents' and students' concerns, especially because not all students with disabilities have strong support systems like Abeel's and parents who can be strong advocates. This conviction was strengthened as she described the high school special education math class as a place where students did not feel that they could ever be successful. This book would be an excellent choice for students who can find common ground with Samantha, as she speaks directly about accepting her limitations, finding her strengths, and continually reflecting on how to reach her full potential. ( )
  apoyner | Sep 5, 2018 |
Samantha Abeel gives readers an in-depth and personal look into the difficulties faced by a girl growing up with dyscalculia. The memoir follows Abeel from kindergarten through her college career, which gives insight into both the expected problems she would face (like falling behind in mathematics) and also highlights the unanticipated impact the LD would have on her life (like the anxiety of checking out at a register). Some parts of the work drag on, but Abeel makes sure to include colorful, robust descriptions of the scenarios which had an impression on her personal growth, which adds a great deal of realism to her story. I would highly suggest this book for any educator currently teaching students, as it truly gives a personal look into how learning with LD can be quite the challenge that often goes unnamed. ( )
  BComeaux | Sep 4, 2018 |
My Thirteenth Winter is a very inspiring memoir about a little girl who suffers with dyscalculia. The worst part about her situation is the avenues in which she should be able to receive help are not ones that she can depend on. Her teachers see that she excels at other subjects, but cannot understand why math is a constant struggle for her. Her parents do not understand her and I feel that they are ashamed and do not want to believe that their daughter has a problem. Samantha Abeel eventually became a writer and used writing as a mean for escape. Being a straight A student, and discovering that you not only have difficulty in a subject, but an actual learning disability was a blow to her ego. She mentions in the book that she began to feel inadequate and stating not to do so well in her other classes. I can relate to her to an extent because when I am struggling in a subject/class all self-confidence goes out of the window and it makes it particularly harder to excel. This semester especially was particularly hard but like Samantha Abeel I use writing to help me through hard times. The assignments that we did in class for this book were absolutely amazing! From the activity as a class making a collaborative poem, to Dr. Austin’s assignment using wingdings, both assignments made me feel especially connected to the book and made this class in particular very enjoyable. ( )
  nseugene | May 12, 2017 |
Samantha Abeel's touching memoir, MY THIRTEENTH WINTER, relates the author's painful development as a young girl and then through high school and college as she struggles with a serious learning disability, dyscalculia. This condition affects virtually every aspect of her life, and this is made all the more difficult because she hides it from the world--and herself--, not wanting to let on that she is not the smart, creative, and talented student that has always been her identity. Her parents and teachers alike do not accept the notion that Sam could be "disabled." Although this has terrible implications for Samantha, she acknowledges that they really just didn't know better. They were unwittingly adding to her anxiety by continuing to push her, giving her the wrong kind of advice to basically "soldier on" or "snap out of it." They don't understand that she has a serious medical condition that mentally/physically impedes her ability to process things that most of us take for granted every day. Things like counting money and change, or dialing the phone, or telling time--not to mention performing even the most basic of calculations in math class. At the same time, Samantha is, by all outside appearances, a model student. The leadership at her school don't understand why she would want or need special education services. They don't understand that a student like Sam can be both gifted AND have a serious disability. "The school resisted" her early attempts to reach out for special services. One of the most important things in this work is bringing light to this issue. How many of our students gifts have been hidden by a diagnosis? How many "gifted" or "well-behaved" students struggle with major problems that are hidden beneath the surface? Untangling the gifted/talented/SpEd categorizations of students is an issue ripe for discussion- making this an excellent text to share with teachers and students alike. I could see this being an excellent "professional development" book given to teachers to read over the summer, or something like that. It shows the effects that parents and teachers and administrators can have on a student, and encourages the reader to see things through the eyes of a student. Because Sam is living this double-life, hiding in plain sight, her anxiety grows and has palpable consequences. She feels sick all the time, has trouble sleeping, and gets bouts of intense nausea. Finally, she reaches a turning point, where she has a revelation about her condition. She says, "I cant do this anymore...It won't go away... I have to allow myself to be learning disabled" (178). The moment she accepts her condition, she begins the path the self-acceptance and peace of mind. Remarkably, Sam published a book of poetry as well as this memoir, and went on to give book tours and speak on the issue of dyscalculia. This harrowing, emotional story ends on a positive note, with Sam taking stock of her newfound lease on life:

"For the first time in my life, I am really living my life. I'm not just watching people from the shore, but I'm swimming with them" (203). ( )
  andrewzutell | May 11, 2017 |
My Thirteenth Winter is a nonfiction memoir by Samantha Abeel that explores her life long struggle with dyscalculia. The book focuses mostly on her difficulties before her diagnosis at the age of 13. This is a special book. Her story is told through her writing and her reflections on what it was like experiencing this struggle. This book should be required reading in every school. Every student struggles with something and this book could teach them they are not alone. The embarrassment and feelings of inadequacy resonated with me, over 20 years removed from this period of development.
This book gave me a new way to think about Special Education and education in general. She made me feel trapped and vulnerable when she shared her reality. How many other children are in the system with issues that could be corrected or dealt with? Samantha’s story told me learning disabilities are complicated issues that required requires help, resources, and determination to overcome. Schools need to expose their students to this type of story. It contains great examples of how the ways being “different” changes your reality, you aren’t a person-your disabled, dumb, retarded….
I recommend you read this book and expose it to as many people as possible. It changed how I will view a student in my classroom that needs accommodation. The accommodation will be a chance to expose myself to someone with abilities and gifts that others don’t possess. Samantha’s story made me aware of how much I need to work on acknowledging the challenges my students will face as humans, not just students. ( )
  S.Johnson | May 10, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439339057, Mass Market Paperback)

In this beautiful and chilling memoir, twenty-five-year-old Samantha Abeel describes her struggles with a math-related learning disability, and how it forced her to find inner strength and courage.

Samantha Abeel couldn't tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change at a checkout counter -- and she was in seventh grade. For a straight-A student like Samantha, problems like these made no sense. She dreaded school, and began having anxiety attacks. In her thirteenth winter, she found the courage to confront her problems -- and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Slowly, Samantha's life began to change again. She discovered that she was stronger than she'd ever thought possible -- and that sometimes, when things look bleakest, hope is closer than you think.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:27 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Overview: Samantha Abeel couldn't tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change at a checkout counter -- and she was in seventh grade. For a straight-A student like Samantha, problems like these made no sense. She dreaded school, and began having anxiety attacks. In her thirteenth winter, she found the courage to confront her problems -- and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Slowly, Samantha's life began to change again. She discovered that she was stronger than she'd ever thought possible -- and that sometimes, when things look bleakest, hope is closer than you think.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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