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

“Shannon , Shannon, bo Bannon”

Anxiety  over a child's development starts early. Recently a mom said to me, “My son is drowning in school. Do you think he has a learning disability?” What was particularly striking about this question was the fact that the child in question was only just five and in...

Two Minute+ Tidbit Tip: “Mythologies of Dyslexia”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNmOHYMCdyo

TWO MINUTE+ TIDBIT TIPS: STAGES OF READING PART II

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixpSWDlXWzs

“‘Spelling. That’s So Yesterday'”

Let’s say your 12-year-old sixth grader spells the following words:  (brief)  bref  (success) susess  (educate) edcccate  (result) resolt (kitchen) kicten   Then  writes the following story to a prompt:           “Once a o pon a time there was a kid that was a million...

“The Tooth Ache Comes Back”

Beside the fact that I am having root canal done later today, I find myself having a throbbing toothache all too often. Behind the toothache, let's look at Joanna, an 8-year-old third grader.  Increasingly, frustrated by her school challenges, Joanna is prone to...

Sibling Rising

Jacob is an endearing 8-year-old child, well-liked by teachers and other kids.  Playing a variety of sports, he is frequently seen as a team leader by coaches and peers. There is one problem, though, eating at Jacob.   Even though he is now in third grade, he still...

“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...

ADHD

Why Ask ‘Why?'” (Part II)

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

“Why Ask ”Why?” (Part I)

Brett, age 8, has difficulty behaving in his third grade class.  Frequently calling out, pushing...

“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...

Assessment

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...

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...

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...