Month: August 2022

“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:

  1. It was pointed out to me that the correct website for the International Dyslexia Association is, not the one originally posted.
  2. A sincere apology to Cheri Rae author of,  “DyslexiaLand: A Field Guide for Parents of Children With Dyslexia ” for the use of the term “DyslexiaLand.”  Unbeknownst to me, Cherie had written the book and created the term “DyslexiaLand.”   Please be sure and visit her website: and also get  hold of her book.  I know I am looking forward to reading it.  I am happy to report that Cheri and I have become fast professional friends and look forward to getting to know each other better.

Well, the good news is that a couple of people are reading the blog!!!!

So, let’s roll up our sleeves for the 2022-2023 school year. We’re striving to keep your “FQ” (“Frustration Quotient”) below a five (on a scale of 1-10).

The New  School Year

Getting Your Head in the Game

In this world of dyslexia , it’s not easy to get your head in the game, as there are many rabbit holes that you can go down that can be overwhelming and confusing.

A few pointers:

  • What do I do with all this paper?  Rather than stuffing IEPs (if your child has one), previous reports and all of the other papers, in folders, get an old-school three-ringed binder and set up five sections:  School Correspondence, School Evaluations, Outside Evaluations, IEP/504 Plans (assuming there are ones established) and Miscellaneous. In each section put the papers in chronological order.
  • Decoding the Code:  When it comes to special education, each state’s code is different.  Understand your state’s definition of the categories for classification, especially for learning disabilities.  For example, New Jersey uses a statistical model of a discrepancy between IQ and achievement to determine a learning disability.  This can be frustrating to parents, as many children whose IQ is not high enough are denied services.  If you can’t decode the code, seek a professional consultant who can help interpret it for you.  (Feel free to email me.)
  • Clarify the Confusion:  I hear parents say, “My child gets ‘push-in’ or ‘pull-out’ instruction.  Seriously, what does that mean?  I am less concerned about where the child is getting what they get, but what it is they are actually receiving when they get pushed in or pulled out.  For example, a good question to ask is, “I know my child is getting push-in instruction, but what are they doing?  What methods are being used?”

  •  Don’t overuse the “D-Word”: Since it seems that almost no one really knows what dyslexia is and confusion runs rampant with this word, overusing it creates misunderstanding and resistance.  (“Wow, what’s that like to be reading upside-down and backward?  That must hurt your child’s head.”)  Safer to stay with the facts – “My child struggles with reading rate, accuracy and fluency.”

  • Get out of the Trunk: Too many parents have put themselves in the backseat of the car or worse, they’re in the trunk. GET YOURSELF IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT!  Let common sense prevail.  If your “mom gut” (sorry dads) is telling you your child is struggling seek help from a competent tutor as soon as possible.  There is no gain in waiting.  You don’t need the “D-Word” diagnosis to get help.

Even though there are many other points that can be made, these points should help you get started.  Watch for future posts to add to your growing list.

Copyright:  Shut-Down Learner

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email



“What About the Grandparents? (Part II)”

This is an opinion driven business.  Sure, there’s research on child behavior and clinical theories, but ultimately it comes down to an opinion.

So, here’s one more.

When it comes to the question raised in the previous blog on the role of  grandparents  (Role of Grandparents?), my opinion is “it depends.”

For some parents they are fine turning the children over to the grandparents, as they are providing needed child care and the parents offer little guidance.  Effectively, the message is, “While it’s on your watch, use your own judgment.”

For other parents they want to exercise much greater control and end up directing the grandparents how they should manage the children and how they should respond to things that come up.

Let’s look at 5-year-old Cole.

Much to the grandparents’ dismay and disapproval, wherever Cole goes with his family – to restaurants, outdoor activities, the beach, etc., Cole has his kiddie iPad in hand.  The parents have made it clear that they feel Cole should be allowed to have it with him.  They feel it is “soothing” to Cole.

The grandparents disagree and came to me seeking advice on how they should handle it.

My guiding principle is simple and straightforward.  Even though, I too, am not a big fan of kiddie iPads, the grandparents need to defer to the parents.

While the grandparents may be playing a more central role than in other eras, the grandparents still take a backseat.  That should be the guiding principle.

A final suggestion that is not easy for many families to accomplish.

Try and have regular “sit down” family meetings between the parents and grandparents.

The grandparents can start the discussion with something like, “If we’re going to be in charge for a day or two a week, we want to make sure we are all on the same page. As the parents we will defer to you guys, but we would also like to be able to offer our input and perspective, for what it’s worth, so let’s have an open and honest discussion.”

(We welcome other opinions on the topic.)

Copyright, 2022

Questions or comments email Dr. Selznick:

“What About the Grandparents?”

I will confess.

In the years that this blog has been written I haven’t given grandparents much of a thought.  In over 500 posts, I don’t think there was one of them where the grandparents were in my sights.

A good friend of mine, Lloyd,  who has been a faithful reader of these posts, said to me recently, “What about the grandparents?  You need to comment about them.”

My response was something like, “Well, I’ve always thought that it was grandparents’ job to basically indulge and enjoy their grandchildren.  Let the rest fall to the parents.  In other words when it comes to the children, they should ‘zip it and clip it.’”

Countering that view, Lloyd said, “Well grandparents play a very different role than they used to.  First of al people are living longer than they did another generation or so ago and with both parents often working, grandparents are frequently called upon to be the “parents” for a day or two a week.  It can be very challenging.”

That is, indeed, very true and while not a grandparent myself (other than to my kids’ dogs), many people I know are often taking care of the grandchildren a couple of days a week or more.

Some of the challenging questions that come to mind:

  • What if the grandparents look at the parents’ way of parenting with a bit of a jaundiced eye?  (There are frequently generational differences that come into play.)
  • Certainly, the same could be asked in reverse, as the parents see how the grandparents oversee the children.
  • When everyone’s together and the grandparents step in, is that ok, or are they overstepping and effectively butting in?
  • Should the parents be giving the grandparents more latitude?
  • How do these issues get resolved without there being arguments and resentments coming quickly to light?

More thoughts next week.

As always we welcome comments and input.

Copyright, 2022

Questions or comments email Dr. Selznick:



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