Month: December 2020

My Interview With James Redford on #Dyslexia

Understanding dyslexia is challenging, primarily because of the deeply embedded mythologies that we hold, chief among them is what I call “the reversal thing.”

You know, try my experiment this holiday season.  With any friend or relative ask them, “Hey, Uncle George, what do you know of dyslexia?”  Guaranteed you will get the, “Isn’t that when,” response (i.e., “Isn’t that when you read upside down and backward?”)

It happens every time.

Not sure how we all got so hypnotized to believe that mythology, but of the last 100 or so dyslexic kids I evaluated, not one of them showed any sign of reading upside down or backward.

A few years back when I was doing my School Struggles podcast series as a part of the CoffeeKlatch Network I had the honor of interviewing James (Jamie) Redford, a documentary filmmaker, who had directed  the award winning film, “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia.”

James Redford Was the Son of Robert Redford — Life & Death of the Filmmaker Who Died at 58

The interview centered on the struggles that Jamie and his wife,  Kyle, had gone through in helping their son overcome his struggles with dyslexia.

James was warm, accessible and a pleasure to interview.  I remember thinking at some point in the interview that I felt like I was talking with an old friend over a cup of coffee.

Sadly, James passed away in October at the age of 58 from complications related to liver cancer.

In this replay of the interview, we raise a glass to you, Jamie, and thank you for fighting the good fight.

Here is the interview:

James Redford Dyslexia Interview

Copyright, 2020
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –

Interview With James Redford – Director: “The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia”

[podcast_episode episode=”5349″ content=”player”]

The Big PictureRethinking Dyslexia provides personal and uplifting accounts of the dyslexic experience from children, experts and iconic leaders, such as Sir Richard Branson and financier Charles Schwab. Directed by James Redford, the film not only clears up the misconceptions about the condition, but also paints a picture of hope for all who struggle with it. Shining a spotlight on the latest scientific and psychological research, the film also highlights the work of Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, co-founders and co-directors of the Yale Center of Dyslexia and Creativity to illuminate the hidden origins and implications of dyslexia. Proving that dyslexia is a neurological issue and not a character flaw the movie illustrates that while the condition is an obstacle, it also carries some unique advantages, and ultimately can be overcome.

Turning Down the “PNQ” – Parent Nag Quotient – Part I.

If you’re a parent with kids still under your roof or you are a parent with grown children, let me ask you this.

When you make comments or ask questions like the following, what kind of response do you get?


  • “Why haven’t you started your homework?”
  • “How come you never pay attention!!!???”
  • “All you do is whine and complain!!!!  Just get started!!!!”
  • “Your room’s a mess. I’m sick of picking up after you.”
  • “You and your sister are fighting again! Why can’t we ever have a peaceful dinner?”
  • “I told you before we got to the store to not run ahead and you completely ignored me!!! Why don’t you listen???”
  • “All you do is play Fortnite…I’m sick of your video game playing.”
  • “Why are you ignoring me all the time???”

Let’s say by the time the child is about 10 years old, with the literal thousands of comments, questions or complaints the parents have made like the ones above, has the child even once in the ten years responded to these with anything like:

“Gee, mom, you’re right. I should start my homework.  Thanks for reminding me.”

“Yes, my room is a chaotic mess and it will be good for me to put my things away.”

“I love my sister and I know that we are disrupting dinner, so we will be more supportive of each other from now on.”

“You know, dad, I have been overly addicted to playing Fortnite and I will start reducing my video game playing time so I can focus better on my school work.”

“You’re right, mom, I disregarded you when we went to the store last time and I will walk by your side today.”

Even though nagging and pecking never produce the desired result, they are the number one, “go-to” strategy used by parents everywhere (followed closely behind by yelling as the most used strategy).

On and on it goes with no positive result.  So why do we do it?

There have to be more effective alternatives.

Take Away Point

Turn down the “PNQ” –   the “Parent Nag Quotient.”  It is having zero impact.

In Part II of this post  in the next few weeks we will offer strategies more effective than the  “PNQ.”

Copyright, 2020
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email –


“But, I Have ‘FOMO'”

Mitchell, a 16 year old boy I work with was recently found by his parents to be using their credit card, let’s just say, a bit inappropriately.

In other words, he took their card without asking for permission, deciding he wanted to buy a video game to play with his friends.

Mitchell’s parents were rightfully upset about it.

When I asked Mitchell,  what was behind his thought process over the inappropriate use of the credit card, in sheepish tones, he said to me, “I don’t know…I guess I’m impulsive…I think I have ‘FOMO.’  Do you know what that is?  I think I was afraid of missing out with my friends.”  (“FOMO,” by the way is a slang term for “Fear of Missing Out.”)

I stared back at him in bemused bewilderment, letting some seconds go by.

Then in a teasing and somewhat mocking style, without skipping a beat I responded astonishingly,  “FOMO!!!!!,” I nearly shouted.  “Impulsive!!!!!  Don’t hand me that utter horse sh-t.!!!!!  Please stop blowing smoke up my ass!  (Yes, that’s what I said.)  And where did you get that word, ‘impulsive’?  Where’d you come up with that?  Do you know what impulsive means?”

Laughing, but somewhat stunned by my reaction, Mitchell mutters, “What do you mean I don’t have FOMO?”

I joke back, “You don’t have FOMO – you have a very different disorder.”

Now I have piqued Mitchell’s attention.  “Really?” he says curiously.  “What disorder do I have?”

“You have a bad case of  “IWWIWD,” I say, waiting for him to respond back.

“I never heard of that disorder.  What is that?  Is it related to ADD?” asks Mitchell, in tones showing deep sincerity to show me he really cares (not really).

“No.  It has nothing to do with ADD,” I tell him.

I continue.  “IWWIWD is a disorder plaguing many American kids.  The disorder leads them to do stupid things like take their parents’ credit card.   IWWIWD  is “I Want What I Want  Disorder.”    To be more accurate it’s I Want What I Want When I Want It Disorder.”  It’s shortened a bit to IWWIWD.  You can look it up in the psychology books,” I joke with him.

Falling out of his chair, laughing at what I’ve said to him, his reaction tells me I’ve hit him squarely between the eyes.  He knows I’ve nailed it.

Mitchell knows he has a bad case of IWWIWD.

Takeaway Point

Don’t let the smoke take over your thinking.

Copyright, 2020
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick:

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