Month: May 2013

Keeping In Touch With Shut-Down Learner, School Struggles & “Dr. Selz”

If you receive this blog you may not know of other ways of staying in touch with “The Shut-Down Learner,”  and Dr. Richard Selznick (“Dr. Selz”) updates.  Here are a few:

Facebook:  Join “The Shut-Down Learner” community page.  On this page I post many different links of interest  from a variety of sources.  Facebook is also a good medium for posting questions and comments.  Go to: and click "like" to join.dyslexia

Twitter:  On Twitter I "tweet" articles and links, as well as “retweet” people in the field who are posting great information on learning disabilities , ADHD,  and school struggling.  Go to to follow and receive daily “tweets.”

Pinterest:  Pinterest is a lively place to see updates in a visual medium.  Find Richard Selznick by going to  and join the fun.

The Coffee Klatch Network:  On The Coffee Klatch I am the host of a monthly radio show called, “School Struggles.”  Here we talk about a range of topics in very down-to-earth, no nonsense terms.  The next episode is 6/3/13 at 8:00 (e.s.t).  We will be talking about vision and its relationship to learning problems.   All previous episodes are also available

JenningsWire: The World of Success  JenningsWire The World of Success is a great site for all kinds of interest.  To find my stuff, go to the “Specialty Tab” and look for “School Struggles. 

Linkedin:  Linkedin is a good place to find other professionals and related groups.  Put in my name to become “linked.”

Shut-Down Learner: To receive blogs in your email inbox when they are published and to get any other updates, go to

Upcoming Talks:  On 6/18 I will be joining a talk on “Preventing the Summer Slide” (good luck) and on 6/25 I will be talking about "Understanding Your Child’s Psychological and Learning Reports."  Contact 673 – 4900 for more information and to reserve your spot.

Lost Opportunities

So much of a child’s world can be framed in an ongoing series of different skills.  For example, some kids have the “skill of” saying hello and greeting someone for the first time.  Others may have the “skill of” manners in social interactions by saying “please” and “thank you” – things like that.   The skills of greeting someone or using social manners do not happen naturally.  They are learned and practiced over countless repetitions,

What happens when we shut off the ability to practice these skills? Then there are lost opportunities and the skills simply do not develop.

Marnie, a five year, old came to my office accompanying her mother who wanted to talk to me about her older sister, Jocelyn.  When I went out to greet the mom, Marnie was on some type of head set connected to a small screen device.  Marnie never looked up, never said hello. The opportunity was lost for that small social pleasantry and interaction of putting out my hand to greet Marnie and ask her a couple of questions about her world. 

Marnie continued to spend the whole time quietly with her head set on, swiping her fingers across the screen.  I did not exist as a human being.   There was lost opportunity (for both of us) to practice the “skill of” social interaction.

Later in the day I went to “Salad Works” for lunch.  A 20-something was in front of me on line.  As she placed her order, “I’ll have spinach.  I’ll have olives…turkey….banana peppers…” I was struck by the fact that there was no “please” or “thank you” mixed in that salad.  The person behind the counter dutifully filling up the woman’s salad bowl did not exist to her.  There was no real human or polite social interaction.

Maybe the 20- something was just an older Marnie, someone who never had the opportunity to practice essential skills.

There are continual opportunities to practice the skill of ___________  (fill in the blank).  Out of expedience parents may be cutting off these opportunities. It certainly is easier having Marnie completely quiet and transfixed on a screen then deal with the usual four year old behaviors.  

It just seems that something is off, though,

Takeaway Point

There is balance between having your child connected to their screens and making sure they don’t continually lose the opportunity to practice interacting with humans.  They risk losing skill opportunities that can’t be recovered.


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