Welcome to The Shut-Down Learner, where we strive to talk to parents in down-to-earth, plain language about the concerns they have for their children. This website has over 500 blog posts organized in categories as well as podcasts, “Two Minute Tidbit” tips, and information about Dr. Selznick’s books.

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POPULAR POSTS

Dyslexia/Reading & Learning Disabilities

“Math Disability? Not So Fast”

Not sure when the reverence for word problems emerged, but it seems that children are almost exclusively taught math through word problems.  I believe it’s linked to the theory that math should always be enhancing “higher order thinking.” Let’s look at Chris, age 7, a...

“Pictures Telling the Story”

Largely supported by the medical model, when parents have their child assessed they are often  focused on “the diagnosis.”    Such a model embodies a, “Yes, they have it,” or “No, they don't have it,” (whatever "it" is) perspective. In my corner of the universe, I...

“Does Spelling Matter?”

Let’s say your 12-year-old sixth grader spells the following words:  (brief)  bref (should) shood (grown) gron (success) susess  (educate) edcccate  (result) resolt (kitchen) kicten   Then  the child writes the following story to a prompt:           “Once a o pon a...

Family Matters #Dyslexia Talk – (Link to the Talk)

I recently had the honor of presenting an overview of dyslexia, shut-down learner and executive functioning to Family Matters:  Parent Training and Information Center.  Based in Illinois, they have great workshops and material on their site and I would encourage you...

ADHD? Perhaps.

Practically every week I hear an array of  concerns regarding distractibility and inattentiveness. There's always the question of, "Does my child have ADHD/ADD" lurking. While talking to parents I try and  broaden the narrative,  reviewing other factors that may be...

Fillin’ the Cracks

Anxiety over your child’s school-based problems can start very early. A mom recently contacted me after reading The Shut-Down Learner. “My son is drowning in school. Do you think he could be a shut-down learner?” After asking a few more questions, I was struck by the...

“Boy, You’re in Hot Water”

Recently, 8-year-old Marty showed some signs of misbehavior when his mom exclaimed, “Boy, you’re in hot water now.” Marty started having a meltdown, screaming and crying, “I don’t want to be in hot water!!!!!!!  I  It will hurt me!!!” Seven-year-old Marissa became...

“Brief Tip:  Getting Clear on Remediation”

Most children referred for assessments are related to struggles with reading, spelling and writing. Parents feel a sense of desperation and don't know what direction to go. Once the issues are identified, the remediation, unfortunately, can be a bit scattershot.  This...

All Aboard the Curriculum Ship

Is your child falling off the Curriculum Ship? The Curriculum Ship  leaves dock in early September and starts steering its course until mid to late June, when it arrives at port somewhere on the other side of the ocean. Not slowing down even when some passengers are...

Green-Yellow-Red Zone

Liana's mom has seen a great deal of struggling in her 4th grade daughter. After I evaluated Liana, the mom asked me, “Was this a problem that could have been averted?” As I explained to her there are valid and reliable screening measures that can be given early on in...

ADHD

“Pictures Telling the Story”

Largely supported by the medical model, when parents have their child assessed they are often...

“Floaters”

  A common concern raised by parents (well, mostly the moms) is their child’s lack of what they...

“Beyond the Power Struggle” (Structure & Leverage)

As noted in the previous blog, with children showing challenging behaviors causing you tremendous...

“They Need Structure…I Need Leverage”

Following up on last week’s Selznick Poll discussion on what percentage of boys show signs of...

“A Hypothetical Poll”

Let’s take a random group of 100 boys, roughly between ages 10 – 14. You know nothing about them,...

Follow-Up to “ADHD? Perhaps”

In last week’s post we noted that there were many factors that can lead to erroneously...

ADHD? Perhaps.

Practically every week I hear an array of  concerns regarding distractibility and inattentiveness....

“ADD-ing”

Over the last couple of decades ADHD (commonly referred to as “ADD") is frequently diagnosed with...

“‘Bright Kids Who Couldn’t Care Less'”

A common complaint that parents bring to me is some variation on the theme of the child being...

“504 Realities (Part II) – Raising My ‘IQ'”

In last week’s post we talked about some of the basics involved with 504 Plans (504 Plans - The...

Assessment

“Pictures Telling the Story”

Largely supported by the medical model, when parents have their child assessed they are often...

“‘Come on, Doc. Tell It to me Straight'” (#Assessment)

Whenever I do an assessment I know that in many ways I am swimming against the tide in my approach...

Follow-Up to “ADHD? Perhaps”

In last week’s post we noted that there were many factors that can lead to erroneously...

Green-Yellow-Red Zone

Liana's mom has seen a great deal of struggling in her 4th grade daughter. After I evaluated...

“Hemming & Hawing”

OK… Among other disorders that I seem to have, readers of this blog know I have confessed to my ...

“Tipping the Scales”

  Some of you have been loyal followers of this blog for over 10 years, while others have...

Why Ask ‘Why?'” (Part II)

app Frequently, I hear from parents that they just want to know "why" something  is taking place...

“Pie Chart Revisited”

As those of you who follow this blog knows there are two overriding missions that drive everything...

Our Explanations & Theories of Struggling Children

While meeting with parents to discuss the concerns they have regarding their  children’s...

Getting a Roadmap

When it comes to their  children struggling with reading, parents could use some road maps. An...

Executive Functioning

“Floaters”

  A common concern raised by parents (well, mostly the moms) is their child’s lack of what they...

“Beyond the Power Struggle” (Structure & Leverage)

As noted in the previous blog, with children showing challenging behaviors causing you tremendous...

“They Need Structure…I Need Leverage”

Following up on last week’s Selznick Poll discussion on what percentage of boys show signs of...

“A Hypothetical Poll”

Let’s take a random group of 100 boys, roughly between ages 10 – 14. You know nothing about them,...

“‘Bright Kids Who Couldn’t Care Less'”

A common complaint that parents bring to me is some variation on the theme of the child being...

“Rolling the Dice”

“Oh, my, my, my, I’m the lone crap shooter, playin the field every night.”  ‘Tumblin Dice,’ the...

“Rudderless”

13-year-old Liam comes in trudging behind his mother, staring at his phone. While I think I have a...

“Stamina” (Part II)

Last week we talked about the idea that “stamina” is not a word  parents reference much to when...

“Stamina?”

It’s always interesting to me how words or terms come in and out of favor. When parents come in to...

“Executive Functioning” – Are You Too Hot or Too Cold?

For those of you who follow this blog or read my other “stuff,” you know that my overall is to...