Dr. Selznick’s blogs are written to help parents navigate the difficult waters of raising children struggling with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, as well as ADHD and deficits of executive functioning. His overriding mission is to speak to parents in “down-to-earth terms free of jargon.” 


“Rubbing My Head” (#Dyslexia #ADHD #Whatever)

This blog can occasionally serve as a bit of a confessional, providing me with  a forum to voice some concerns regarding the issues that emerge while working with struggling children and their parents.

So, with that in mind here’s a confession.

Sometimes I honestly don’t know when a child’s struggling, particularly in the four to seven-year range (Pk-1st) is related primarily to immaturity (i.e., they are not ready and need more time) or whether their struggling represents a legitimate disorder/disability.

(As I write this, I hear the chorus in the back of my mind calling out.)

“Well, Mr. Big Shot.  You’re the doctor.  That’s why we are coming in to see you – to tell us what it is.  What do you mean you are not sure if it’s immaturity or a disorder? Stop rubbing your head! What’s the matter with you???”

I try talking back to the chorus.

I tell  them things like, “It’s rarely  clear cut.  There is usually a ‘pie chart or ‘soup pot’ of variables interacting.’”

At that point the chorus gets louder.  They are almost screaming, “‘A soup pot of variables!!!!!’ What does that mean??? Does she have it or not?   Does she have dyslexia???  And what about ADHD?  She pays attention to nothing!!!!  Isn’t that ADHD?  And she seems awfully anxious.  Come on, man.  Get out of your soup pot.”

Relentlessly badgered by the chorus, I think of Marjorie, age 7, a child I recently evaluated who doesn’t read very well or stay on task without a lot of reminders.

Marjorie’s  teacher vaguely spoke to the mom about her not paying attention very well in school, with the implied suggestion that she might have ADHD, always with the caveat that “We are not doctors.  We don’t diagnose.”

After running Marjorie through a bunch of tests, I  had one overall impression.

Marjorie struck me as immature.

“Immature????,”  the chorus cries out.  “Are you kidding me?”

“Yes,” I push back against the chorus.  I tell them that Marjorie seemed more like a five-year old-rather than seven in her manner and way of interacting – that her preoccupations came across as a bit babyish.

The problem with that there is no test to quantify “babyish,” such as a “Maturity-Immaturity Scale.

It’s the same with the disorders, like dyslexia or ADHD.  Even though there are more objective tests involved in the assessment, there is no X-Ray or blood test to say,  “Yes, has it”  or “No, doesn’t have it.”  It’s still a weighing of variables that tilt the scales one way or the other.

Takeaway Point

I am sticking with the view that Marjorie needs time and perhaps some tutoring to help her mature and improve her skills.  We need to track and monitor her closely to see how she responds.

“Back down, chorus. I’m going back to rubbing my head.”

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,

“Not Reading the Signals”

An issue often overlooked with children diagnosed as  ADHD is a frequently occurring underlying variable of social judgment and difficulty with “reading” cause and effect.  Difficulty with reading cause and effect impacts both social and academic functioning, such as...

read more

“Ongoing Themes: #Dyslexia #ADHD #LD Discrepancy #504 #Parenting”

Those of you following this blog for some time know there are some recurring themes in these posts (that mostly irritate me). For others  newer to these posts, I will help to bring you up to speed with some of the predominant ones. The LD-Discrepancy Model: Easily the...

read more


  A common concern raised by parents (well, mostly the moms) is their child’s lack of what they label as “executive function deficits (EFD).” With EFDs there’s always the underlying question of whether these issues are a biproduct of immaturity, skill deficits or a...

read more


Latest Posts