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

“World of Dyslexia – Part II”

Lowering Your "Frustration Quotient" Before getting into this week’s blog, there are two corrections to make from the previous week’s post: It was pointed out to me that the correct website for the International Dyslexia Association is www.dyslexiaida.org, not the one...

“Welcome to the World of Dyslexia” (Part I)

(***For every one of these blogs (500+ and counting), I feel I need to put out a front-end disclaimer, in case people get riled up.  What is said here is an opinion.  Take it for what it’s worth!) So, let’s dive in the opinion pool again. Not sure when this light bulb...

“The Marginally Ready Child”

Over the years, I’ve been a bit of a hoarder. Like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to this habit. One advantage (not that my wife agrees) is that I have held on to different journals that were in the dustbins of Temple University’s renowned Reading...

“Like Giving Them Oxygen”

Last Sunday on the front page of the New York Times was a major piece on the proponent of “balanced literacy,” offering some type of retreat  for the philosophy behind “balanced literacy” that has been espoused for decades having failed legions of children (NYT...

“Upside Down & Stuck”

In many respects, writing is the window in to understanding what a child needs academically and emotionally. Let’s take a look at George, a  9-year boy in the fourth grade. George feels that other kids make fun of him because of the way he spells and writes.  George...

“Further Down the Rabbit Hole:” #Dyslexia

Since this blog and its over 500 entries are not entirely about dyslexia/reading disabilities, I was determined for this week  not to continue going down the “dyslexia rabbit hole.” But, as I was organizing books on my shelf  (yes, I still have hard bound physical...

Part II: Understanding the ‘D-Word’: #Dyslexia

As  we discussed in the last week's post ("Misunderstanding the "D-Word'" ), the problem with the use of the word "dyslexia," which has become quite popular among parents and professionals, is that the word is almost universally misunderstood. We encouraged you to ask...

Misunderstanding the “D-Word” (Yep, #Dyslexia)

Not sure how it happened, but it seems that there has been a wave of parents that think that their child has “dyslexia.” They also often note that many people in their family, such as the parents and grandparents also have or had dyslexia (even though most were never...

Part III: “Helping Your Struggling Reader & Dyslexic Child at Home”

Within the last two blog posts, we discussed the foundation needed to understand how to work at home with your struggling child. While moving forward there is one overriding principle that is important to stress, that is - TAKE YOUR TIME  - DO NOT RUSH. Understand...

Part II: Helping Your Struggling Reader & Dyslexic Child at Home

In last week's post we started the discussion of how to help struggling children at home, many of whom are dyslexic (Helping Child at Home: Part I ) The case of Ruth helps further set the stage. Ruth, a Case Study To illustrate the experience of a child on the rough...

ADHD

“My Kid Can’t Pay Attention – Must Be ADHD” (Not So Fast)

Every week I hear an array of concerns regarding distractibility and inattentiveness. Beyond the...

“‘When I Was Born There Something Wrong With My Brain, So I Took This Pill…”’

Jacob is an endearing,  extremely verbal 7-year-old. Whenever asked a question, Jacob talks with...

Feeling the Twinge

Sometimes I can feel the twinge coming on.  It usually occurs when I hear the misinformation...

“My Child Doesn’t Pay Attention – Do You Think He Has ADHD?”

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

“Got My Kid On Medication”

Once parents have gotten the “diagnosis” of ADHD, typically medication is offered as the next...

“Is ADHD a Valid Disorder?”

“‘I think the current diagnosis of ADHD is a mess and has been wildly overdone.  It blames a...

Rushing As a Style

In these more clinical times where most child behavior is ascribed to a “diagnosis” of one sort or...

“The Diagnosis,” Medication and Knowing the Limits

If you have followed this blog a while, you know there are emerging themes that reoccur. One of...

Musing on 504, ADHD & the Pie Chart

 Accommodations in school are typically formalized in what is called a 504 Plan. 504 (Section 504...

Part II: Ryan & His “Quasi-ADHD

Last week we talked about Ryan and his “Quasi-ADHD,” inspired by a by 7th grader I had recently...

Assessment

“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...

Bewildering Treatment Options

Treatment options and the range of professional recommendations can be bewildering, not to mention...

“We Got the Diagnosis”

Most struggling children that I know have what I have refer to as a “soup pot of variables"...

Our Theories & Explanations: #Child

When you are in “Child Land,” there are all kinds of theories and explanations as to why children...

Wrestling With My “Underself”

There’s always that point  in the assessment process  that I know is coming that frequently gives...

“A ‘Tin Ear’ for Music”

Years ago I had the privilege of being in an audience of about 500 participants listening to a...

Disorder or Immaturity? A Confession

Sometimes this blog serves as a bit of a confessional, providing  a forum to voice some concerns...

“Tell It To Me Straight, Doc…”

With about 500 blog posts under our belt, we look for inspiration where we can find it. Those of...

Executive Functioning

“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...

“P.A.D. – ‘Pain Avoidance Disorder’ & the Reality of School”

In the landscape of modern childhood there is something that I have come to call, “P.A.D.” or...

Executive Functioning & the Goldilocks Standard

My overall mission on www.shutdownlearner.com is to present to parents in down-to-earth,...

Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up: My interview with Dr. Ellen Braaten

Processing speed isn’t a one-dimensional concept. It’s not just about how fast received, or how...

“What’s the Ratio?”

In the consulting done with parents regarding their children’s school issues, I often talk about...

“But, I Have ‘FOMO'”

Mitchell, a 16 year old boy I work with was recently found by his parents to be using their credit...

“What’s the Ratio?”

One of the biggest challenges in this business of struggling children is deciding what’s the ratio...

The Frustration of Nonchalance

Synonyms for “nonchalance:”   apathy, complacence indifference, unconcern, torpor Antonyms for...