Month: October 2023

“‘Come on, Doc. Tell It to me Straight'” (#Assessment)

Whenever I do an assessment I know that in many ways I am swimming against the tide in my approach and perspective.

Hopelessly mired in identifying the the “soup-pot” of variables interacting, I rarely see things as one way or another.

Parents are typically focused on “the “diagnosis,” largely supported by the medical model.   Such a model embodies a, “Yes, he has it,” or “No, he does not have it,” perspective. It is the belief held by many, that once one gets the diagnosis the treatment will logically follow.

While this may be true in real medicine, I wish things were that straightforward in my corner of the universe.

Apropos of that, a dad said to me recently,  “Come on, Doc,” tell it to me straight.  What’s he got,”  as I wriggled in my chair trying to side-step his statement.

From my perspective, assessment should identify major areas of need and what should be done next, ideally guiding you on what I refer to as “next-step thinking.”

If you are having your child assessed more than a reductionistic diagnosis, important questions to ask include:

What are the identified strengths and the the areas of greatest need?  How mild, moderate or severe are the areas of need?    How much direct instruction (i.e., tutoring)  is needed?  What is realistic to expect from the school in terms of direct instruction?  What type of accommodations would be helpful in addition to any direct instruction?  If no direct instruction is offered by school, how do we deal with that? 

Notice, the questions are focused on the practicality of the skill needs and the consideration (ratio) of direct instruction to support and accommodation.

Takeaway Point

Let me tell it to you straight.

Assessment drives “next-step thinking.”  Ask the right questions!

Feel free to make comment below.  To receive future blog posts, register your email:

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

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2023,

Family Matters #Dyslexia Talk – (Link to the Talk)

I recently had the honor of presenting an overview of dyslexia, shut-down learner and executive functioning to Family Matters:  Parent Training and Information Center. 

Based in Illinois, they have great workshops and material on their site and I would encourage you to browse around the site at your leisure.

Here’s a link to the talk:


Please feel free to share it with anyone who may be interested in the topic:

Please email me with any questions or comments that you may have regarding the talk.



Follow-Up to “ADHD? Perhaps”

In last week’s post we noted that there were many factors that can lead to erroneously hypothesizing that a child has ADHD/ADD.

There were  a number of  comments posted.

Dr. M., a developmental pediatrician, reminded us to remember an important variable:

“Perhaps the child has an auditory or language processing disorder and therefore doesn’t pay attention to non-meaningful information.”

Kathryn A., a former teacher, stated:

“Great list of possibilities, Dr. Selznick!
As a former teacher, I know that anxiety about anything will present like some ADD symptoms and everyone at some time does something ADD-like. I wasn’t diagnosed until age 52! The real deciding factor, as I learned, was do these symptoms happen everywhere, not just at school, not just at home, but at swimming lessons, Boy Scouts, class trips…does it consistently impact negatively no matter the setting.”

Stanley S., also a former teacher, cautioned to remember effects of fear of embarrassment:

“One of the great obstacles in all of education… for each individual student… is the fear of embarrassment. We are all capable of convincing ourselves… with areas where we are weak… that EVERYONE ELSE “gets it” and we don’t… which will often lead to NOT asking for help, or not asking questions in class. A great challenge to teachers is to try to create a safe environment in their classrooms … so that each child feels “protected” in some way. A teacher I knew, once told a “shy” student that each time she asked a question in class, at least half the class was grateful, since they didn’t understand it either!!”

Adina B.,  also voiced her frustration with the  ADHD diagnosis (***Note she references the Vanderbilt, which is a checklist typically used in pediatric practices.)

“OMG! If I see one more “evaluation” written up in an EMR (i.e., electronic medical record) format of course and conducted by a neurodevelopmental pediatrician (and sometimes by a nurse practitioner) with “results” from the Vanderbilt (because it’s free), I am going to lose it!”

Takeaway Point

Thrilled that the comment section of the website is back in action.  (Your comments help to take the pressure off of me for new content!!!!  Keep ’em coming!!!

Feel free to make comment below.  To receive future blog posts, register your email:

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

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2023,


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