Month: March 2023

“Part I: A Reading Primer”

As we discussed last week (https://shutdownlearner.com/a-primer/) the next few weeks will be primers in major categories of parental concern.

This week, in 400 words or less, we offer a primer on reading.

Here we go.

When you boil it all down, there are essentially two types of reading problems.

  • Type I: These children have trouble with reading rate, decoding, accuracy and fluency.  The vast majority of children referred for special education have Type I issues in mild, moderate or severe forms.  The more moderate and severe Type I children are likely to be diagnosed as having dyslexia, as they match the clinical definition of dyslexia (see interdys.org).
  • Type II: These children are entirely different from the above category.  They have no problems with decoding of words or reading fluency, but their capacity to understand what they read and to apply higher order reasoning is weak and spotty.

In my opinion, more important than a clinical diagnosis it is essential to know whether your child falls into one of these two categories.

Why is this  essential?

By knowing what category your child is in and how mild, moderate or severe the problem, then this drives what needs to be done (usually in the form of tutoring).

Good testing should help you get clear on the fundamental questions:

  • Does my child have a problem (“yes” or “no”).
  • If they have a problem is it a Type I or a Type II?
  • Is the problem mild, moderate or more severe?
  • What is the method proposed for remediation? (For struggling children, scattershot remediation will not be effective for either category.)

Takeaway Point

There you have it – a primer on what you need to know about reading in less than 400 words.

It really doesn’t need to get much more complicated than this.


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Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email rselznick615@gmail.com.

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“A Primer”

In my corner of the universe most of the issues that are brought to me include some variation on the following:

  • Struggling with reading (and writing)
  • Difficulty with attention and what is commonly referred to as “sustained mental effort”
  • Low level “executive functioning”
  • Poor Frustration tolerance
  • Disconnected/Shut-Down/Unmotivated
  • Ignoring Rules/Social Problems
  • Parent frustration with the school/special education

There are many other issues that parents may be encountering with their children, but these are the common ones that land on my doorstep.

Over the next few weeks we will weave through these categories with a Selznick Primer of  Struggling Children, while doing my best to offer a thumbnail overview and a few essentials for you to consider

Please understand that these blogs represent my view.  I am not presenting them as absolute truths, but offering my perspective.

It is always my mission to talk to parents, whether through the blogs or face-to-face, in down-to earth, plain language with as little jargon as possible.

It is my impression that there is a great deal of misconception and misinformation out there, and I do my best to try and counter these.

Feel free to disagree, pushback or raise questions.  In fact, I would welcome those, but you need to do this through email (rselznick615@gmail.com), as the comment feature has been disabled because of spamming.  (In future posts related to the category being discussed I  may post some of the questions, anonymously of course.)

If you are a long time reader of this blog and have come along some 500+ blogs later, thanks for staying with me over the years.

If you’re relatively new to these, welcome.

Hope you enjoy the ride.

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***Please note:  Comments are blocked by the hosting site.  Please email questions or comments.  (See below.)

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email rselznick615@gmail.com.

To receive future blog posts, register your email: http://www.shutdownlearner.com.

 

“Theories & Hypotheses”

When you are a parent in struggling “Child Land,” there are all kinds of theories, hypotheses and explanations as to why children do what they do.

These hypotheses are revealed in statements made as to what is behind the child acting a certain way.

Let’s listen to some recent statements:

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

“My daughter is refusing to do her work –  we thought the Lexipro was working.”

“My son, marches to the beat of his own drummer –  he’s more of a creative type. Rules just aren’t his thing.”

And the beat goes on.

Things often not stated:

I know my kid is manipulating us when he avoids his homework to go play video games.”

“Maybe the school is not the problem as to why she’s acting the way she is.”

“It’s not ok to say whatever you want in the class, even if you don’t like the work.”

“No one wants to invite Zach to their house or a birthday party; he never shares with the other kids and he has alienated them.

What to do?

One step is to help kids recognize that choices made have built-in (natural) consequences.  (“If you don’t share, others will not want to play with you.  It’s that simple.”)

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

 Takeaway Point

Double check your hypotheses and theories.


***Please note:  Comments are blocked by the hosting site.  Please email questions or comments.  (See below.)

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email rselznick615@gmail.com.

To receive future blog posts, register your email: http://www.shutdownlearner.com.

“No One to Play With: The Social Side of Learning Disabilities”

A book that always stayed with me reminding me of my early days as a psychologist at the Hill Top Preparatory School, a private school in the Philadelphia Suburbs for high schoolers with learning disabilities,  is Betty Osman’s, “No One to Play With:  The Social Side of Learning Disabilities.”  Even though the book  came out in the mid 1980’s, it’s as relevant today as it was then.

With dyslexia and other learning problems, we often don’t consider the social/emotional side of things.  Too many of these kids feel a lot of embarrassment and often find themselves with “no one to play with.”

Along with learning disabilities, these kids often show ADHD type of behaviors and they frequently have trouble navigating the social waters around them.

Back in the Hill Top days, the students and staff often had lunch together and casually socialized.  The boundaries between student and staff often blurred as the topics whirred around, but it was great fun and I think that all of us (staff and students) learned a lot from each other.

For some of the kids with social issues, having a staff member they could “hang with” seemed to make a big difference in their self-esteem.

In this era of outcome measurements and evidenced-based education, I don’t hear that much focus on such intangibles.

How do you measure the impact that having lunch with a kid has on their social/emotional development?

You don’t, really.

The impact is immeasurable.  It can’t be quantified.


***Please note:  Comments are blocked by the hosting site.  Please email questions or comments.  (See below.)

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email rselznick615@gmail.com.

To receive future blog posts, register your email: http://www.shutdownlearner.com.

 

 

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