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Dr. Katherine Schneider's second book helps children cope with disabilities

RELEASED: Feb. 25, 2010

Dr. Katherine Schneider and her guide dog, Fran Dr. Katherine Schneider and her guide dog, Fran
Dr. Katherine Schneider and her guide dog, Fran, enjoy a moment with Schneider’s recently released children’s book, "Your Treasure Hunt: Disabilities and Finding Your Gold." (UW-Eau Claire photos by Bill Hoepner)
Katherine Schneider will sign copies of her new book from noon-2 p.m. March 11 in the University Bookstore. More information.

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Katherine Schneider knows all about coping with a disability. Blind since birth, the retired psychologist wants to help children appreciate the positive aspects of their situation and know they are not alone.

Schneider's new book, "Your Treasure Hunt: Disabilities and Finding Your Gold," is a 32-page hardcover with lively illustrations designed for children in grades 1-3 to read with an adult, but it offers awareness, advice and humor appropriate for all ages.

"I knew I needed to do this book, not only for kids with disabilities but for their parents, their friends and playmates," said Schneider, who retired as a senior psychologist emerita from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2004. "There isn't such a book and kids need to talk about what it's like."

Children with disabilities encounter challenges that other children don't experience, such as working extra hard on and needing more time for everyday tasks, being teased and summoning the courage to ask for help. Schneider helps children see how much stronger and smarter they are because they have learned things not everyone knows how to do.

"These are positives that need to be celebrated," she said, noting that the book is meant to help young people take pride in who they are and who they will be regardless of — or in some ways — because of a disability. Schneider writes about how sometimes it hurts to be different, sometimes it's fun to be different and sometimes help isn't helpful. Constructive ways of dealing with frustration and techniques for building a positive self image are offered. A resource section suggests books and Web sites for additional guidance.

Schneider was the first blind student to graduate from the public school system in Kalamazoo, Mich., and was a valedictorian as well as a National Merit Scholar. She worked at three universities before coming to UW-Eau Claire. She has taught psychology courses from general psychology to graduate level and counseled, supervised and administered university counseling services. She has presented papers at national professional meetings and authored articles and book chapters on such topics as counseling people with disabilities, visual impairment and religion.

Schneider has won awards for her work from the Courage Center, UW-Eau Claire and the UW System Board of Regents, among others. She earned her bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and her master's and doctoral degrees from Purdue University.

She founded the Schneider Family Book Award given annually by the American Library Association to honor books about the experiences of children and teens with disabilities. Her memoir, "To the Left of Inspiration: Adventures in Living with Disabilities," was published in 2005.

"Everyone's treasure hunt goes on forever," said Schneider. "But as you get older you realize it's about passing on what you've learned to others."

"Your Treasure Hunt: Disabilities and Finding Your Gold" was published by Beaver's Pond Press and is available from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon.com, the UW-Eau Claire Bookstore, Crossroads Bookstore and in alternate formats from www.bookshare.org. Local appearances and book signings are in development.

For more information, contact Dr. Katherine Schneider at schneiks@uwec.edu.

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RD/DW

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