Month: November 2017

On 504 Plans & Finding the Right Accommodation

Many people come in inquiring about a 504 Plan for their child.  It’s important to know what you are seeking.

With 504 plans (which come out of Americans with Disabilities Act  legislation  or ADA , we are saying that the child  has a disability and needs to have accommodations to assist the child enough so that the playing field becomes leveled.

The notion is that without such accommodations, it would be fundamentally unfair for the child with the disability.

Finding the right accommodations for your child can be tricky.  Too often a 504 Plan becomes a boilerplate check-off exercise that is not necessarily related to the child’s needs or may be simply too accommodating.

For example, some years ago I remember a mom insisted that the school provide an extra set of books for the child because his ADHD precluded him (theoretically) from being able to remember to take his books home for his homework.

I happened to know this kid quite well.  When he left the school building carrying nothing (because the school had to supply an extra set of materials at home), I imagined this kid was saying something to himself like, “Haha you suckers…you have to carry your books home, but I get to go home without them.”

For this individual, even if he did have “ADHD,” which I questioned, I never thought the accommodation was necessary and always perceived that it fit into his general sense of over-entitlement.

In short, the accommodation was the wrong message to give the kid.

Another child tested recently was extremely rapid on almost all of the tasks that he completed.  Calling him “impulsive” was an understatement.

The parents reported that he was given a 504 plan because of his ADHD (previously diagnosed by the neurologist.)  At the top of the accommodation list on the boilerplate document was “extra time.”

Extra time???  As he  blitzed through his work at light speed, the last thing he needed was extra time.

Takeaway Point

Accommodations are tricky.  Sometimes they just don’t hit the mark. 504 Plans are meant to be individualized (in theory).  Ask yourself what can be done to help “level the playing field?  What does my child legitimately need to help him function better in the classroom?”

Draining the Joy of #Reading


I’m not exactly sure when it occurred, when we collectively decided to drain the joy out of reading in early childhood, but it happened some time ago perhaps when we weren’t looking.

The expression about the frog being boiled by degrees so he won’t jump out of the pot, applies.

When it comes to reading we’ve been boiled by degrees and we weren’t aware of it.

The evidence for this comes from the dreadful worksheets brought to me by parents on a daily basis that are passed off as sham literature.

This week’s blog was prompted by parents who brought me “reading material’ on their child, young Brody, a second grader.   As I perused the packet of dreadful, there was a two page “story” that Brody was assigned.  The story had no redeeming value that authentic stories or literature would have, but what was even worse was what young Brody had to do after reading the story.  There were 20 multiple choice questions for the poor kid to slog through.  20!!!

The last time I looked, early second grade was not competing with the SAT.  Here’s one of the questions:

“If stir means “mix by moving around with a spoon” then stirred means

  1. Not mixing by moving around.
  2. Mix by moving around with a spoon
  3. Mixed by moving around with a spoon
  4. Mixing by moving around with a spoon.

Mind numbed yet?  I can just picture the author of this test congratulating himself for slipping in a way to learn about present and past tense.

Imagine 20 of these to sort out?

Keep in mind that I have not yet met or evaluated Brody, but the odds are pretty good that he has a reading problem.  Even if Brody turns out to be an adequate reader upon evaluation, the story and the 20 questions would have been stultifying to the best of students.

Somewhere along the line we got the notion that worksheets passing off as literature with their   accompanying tests were the answer, that each question somehow would bring the child to the next level of reading development.

I’m not buying it.

Twenty multiple choice questions following a faux story leads to turned-off kids, shutting them down.

Real literature ignites the imagination and gets the conversation going.  There’s meat on the bones.  Great stories motivate kids to read more great stories.


For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –

To receive free Dyslexia Infographics and updates, go to:



Our Explanations of Child Behavior

Maybe it’s me.

Maybe it’s because I think back to an era where kids were rarely on medication even if their behavior was a bit off.

Maybe it’s because of the lens through which I see kids.

Parents will have lots of theories about their child’s behavior, often linked to medical explanations.

What I typically hear is an emphasis on the medication as the primary factor in the child’s life.

The refrain goes something like this:

“We adjusted the Vyvanse, but he is still aggressive with his younger sister.”

“My daughter won’t do her work; I don’t understand the Lexipro seemed to be working.’

“The school said Michael was very disrespectful   this week – maybe his Intuniv needs to be changed.’

“Marla’s so unmotivated.  She just wants to do nothing.  It must be the medication wearing off.”

And the beat goes on.  And the beat goes on.

Things I don’t hear very much:

“I know my kid is manipulating us.”

“He’s become addicted to the iPad and we have indulged it.’

“I don’t see her showing empathy – I don’t know if she has a conscience.’

“Maybe the school is not the problem; maybe it’s her attitude.”

“His behavior is alienating other kids – no one wants to invite him to their house or a birthday party.”

I know some of you will get annoyed at me for saying the following but, by and large, kids have choice.    Their choices have built in consequences.

If we buffer kids continually from these consequences there will be no reason for them to learn from their mistakes and try a different approach.

Takeaway Point

It’s not just medication adjustment.


For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –

To receive free Dyslexia Infographics and updates, go to:


Latest Posts