Month: June 2016

When You Start to Get Nervous

It is usually when the child emerges from preschool or kindergarten that parents (typically moms) start to notice some things that are concerning. Frequently, they bring these concerns up with the child’s pediatrician or with the school. The typical message that they get at that point, is that they are being overly concerned for nothing and that there is little to be worried about.

From that point the mom tries to squelch her anxiety, whether naturally or with simple supplements like bath bombs with cbd and she tries to let things go. First grade goes by. Then second grade.

Like a low-level pilot light, though, the anxiety never goes away. There is the underlying sense that something is not quite right. Even at this point, frequent messages are that the anxiety is overblown. This is especially true if the child is obtaining decent enough grades in school. (Not to be sexist about it, but girls, being socially attuned, are often particularly good with getting good grades, which often masks underlying learning problems.) Lots of parents struggle with overwhelming anxiety, and some even have to get a medical marijuana prescription to keep it under control so they can function normally. You can Click Here to read more about this option if you need help too. Before making any purchases, you will need to make sure that medical marijuana is legal in your state, and you will need to have a medical marijuana card. There are companies, like hytekmed (Visit website), that can check if you qualify for a medical marijuana card for you.

As well as using safe medical remedies like CBD oil from cannabis oil canada suppliers to calm your nerves, most research and clinical experience suggests that when you start to get nervous you should listen to yourself. There are concerns that should be paid close attention to and acted upon in some way.

Indicators or “red flags” can be identified as young as four and five years of age. If these are identified, it does not necessarily mean that your child should automatically be categorized as “learning disabled” or “dyslexic.” However, at five years of age, a child should be monitored closely to see how their development in reading unfolds. Presuming that these indicators are significant for the child and that reading would be difficult, it argues for more focused and specialized instruction – the earlier the better.

Taking a wait and see (i.e., “wait and fail”) approach goes counter to everything that is known. Even if the child does not turn out to have a disability later on, there would be no harm in providing them with good, sensible, structured instruction at a young age. The mindset would be preventative and developmentally appropriate.

Takeaway Point

When you start to get nervous about your child’s issues, you should listen to yourself and pay attention.

Your inner bell is well-tuned.

“The Skill of…”

I like using the phrase “the skill of ________________” when talking to parents about various kid issues.  Using the phrase helps guide parents in terms of what they are targeting and helps a child to move forward.

Some time ago a friend of mine trained her kids (three boys) at a fairly young age the skill of making their lunch.  Effectively, she sized up their readiness to meet the demands of the task (she thought they were ready) and she taught them the skill.  After showing the boys the steps and having them practice each step to mastery, they internalized the skill.  Inernalizing the skill gave them a sense of mastery and personal competence, not to mention moving one step closer to independence

Here are some other examples of “the skill of” in action:

“We are practicing the skill of short vowels in one syllable words.’

“We are practicing the skill of multisyllabic words with short vowel sounds.”

The skill of inferences is what we are targeting.”

“This month we are practicing the skill of putting your homework in the right place in your book bag.”

To a child who never looks up from his iPad, when someone is saying hello,  one mom said, “September is devoted to  practicing the skill of saying hello to someone after they speak to you.”

“Skill of” thinking is good for both parent and child.  For the child the identified skill is finite and obtainable.  Once the skill is mastered, the child owns it.  It’s in his skill repertoire.

For the parents, it changes their thinking such things as, “We’re working on improving his ADD or his dyslexia”  to targeting very specific identifiable skills.  Working on ones’s ADD or dyslexia does not define really what it is that is being targeted or worked on to mastery.

Keep in mind that all skills have basically three zones to consider.  The independent zone represents the  zone where the skill is fully mastered and easy for the child.  Within the instructional zone, the skill is close to being fully mastered, but still needs some work. The frustration or difficulty zone is too hard for the child and should be avoided.  It is simply too difficult.  In general people cannot work within their frustration zone.

In the case of the lunch making boys, my friend correctly assessed that her kids were able to be in the instructional zone with this particular skill and that with some practice they could be in the independently managing the skill of making their lunch.

Takeaway Point

Use “skill of” thinking” wherever you can (not just with academics).  Be clear with your child in using the phrase “skill of,” as in,  “We are practicing the skill of making your bed.”

Be mindful of the zones of competence in determining the skill you are targeting and your level of expectation.


The Under-Functioning/Over-Functioning Dance We Do

13  Year Old, 7th Grade Boy – Composite Profile:

  • Engrossed in screens – Video games, YouTube, Instagram, iPad, etc., etc.
  • Poor time management..
  • Low level study skills and organizational skills.
  • Variability of academic performance/under-functioning.
  • “Socializing” on internet or through video games.
  • Not “steering his boat” (at least in any direction that anyone is happy with).
  • Reading is an ancient process that is agonizingly boring.
  • Wants to go to “college,” but has no idea what that means.
  • Annoyed that mom is over-controlling him, but happy to let her have an anxiety attack over his missing assignments, many of which she is “helping” him complete.

Mom of 13 year Old, 7th Grade Boy – Composite Profile

  • Constant anxiety over under-functioning 13 year old boy.
  • Checking the school’s internet site (e.g., PowerSchool) for missing assignments and updated grades. Checks three times a day on average.
  • Losing lots of sleep.
  • Feels like she is about 80% in too much on 15 year old boy’s academics.
  • Wants to wring 15 year old boy’s neck a lot, but refrains from doing it for fear of being brought up on charges or being called on child abuse.
  • Feels like she is constantly badgering over homework.
  • Can’t get husband off of internet.

Ah, the daily dance that we do, played out in so many households across America.  The 13 year old boy is sucking up to too many screens and not meeting academic realities, while his mom is  driven up a wall.

I know people think these kids need “strategies” to learn to be better students.  But, here’s the deal, unless there is sufficient “buy in” from the kid, strategy teaching is a waste of time and money.


Look for places to reduce the dance.  For example, check in on PowerSchool (or whatever yours is called) once in a while, not daily.  One of my favorite solutions is for parents to strive to be 10% involved.

Put the problem where it belongs – on the kid.  Messages delivered matter-of-factly such as, “You’re a big boy.  It’s your problem to manage.  If you need some assistance, let us know,” go a long way to reduce the tension points and the resulting anger (on both sides).  The dance gets diminished.

Takeaway Point

Try and look at the over-functioning/under-functioning dance of the household. Where you can, lower your emotional involvement in the homework

Getting Beyond the IQ

I recently had the pleasure of facilitating a webinar sponsored with the Dyslexia Training Institute called “Assessment Boot Camp for Parents.”  (You can still register for the webinar and listen in your own time by going to this link

When I do testing one of my least favorite questions that I inevitably get is, “So what’s his/her IQ?”

In previous posts, I have tried to illustrate how the IQ can hold a child back from not receiving services he/she needs.  The IQ  and can also be subject to rampant misinterpretation.

For example, if I say to the parent or the school the child has an “IQ of 100,”  what is formed is an immediate perception of the child being of average intelligence.  That would seem to be a reasonable presumption since an IQ of 100 is smack in the middle of the average range, the 50th percentile.

The problem (among many problems) is that one could line up 100 kids or adults who each have the same exact score of 100, yet they’d all be different in terms of their strengths and  weaknesses, their highs and lows. It would be hard to characterize them under the umbrella of “average intelligence.”

Take Thomas an 8 year old boy I tested recently.  If you looked at his overall IQ score, it wasn’t all that impressive, somewhere in the high 80’s or low 90’s (about the 25th percentile).

However, when I asked Thomas a question from a math word problem task,  the question asked said something about spending, such as “If you have $24 and spend half of it what will you have left.”

Thomas stopped me mid-way and said, “Well, I’m not a spender…I’m a saver.”

“What do you mean,” I asked.

“Well, whenever I get any kind of money I try and save change in a jar.  I think I have almost $400.”

“Really?  I’m very impressed, I complimented him.”

“Yep.  I figure I’ll have a couple of thousand dollars by the time I’m 18.  I’m just not a spender.”

It turns out that Thomas scored in the 90th percentile on this task and he was in a similar range on other tasks that involved fluid reasoning and nonverbal thinking.

IQ indeed!

Takeaway Point:

Often, as in the case with Thomas, the IQ is rendered fairly meaningless because of the variability, the highs and lows of the profile.

Remember to go beyond the IQ score.  It may not be telling you much.





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