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.” 


“Pull the Curtain”

One of my favorite comedic bits is the one from Jerry Seinfeld’s standup where he talks about the difference between flying first and passenger class.  As the stewardess brusquely pulls the curtain between the first class and the rest, she has a look of, “If you only worked harder,” looking at the hapless passenger class.

With that said, let’s look at Olivia,  a lively and engaging 8-year-old third grader. Involved with a range of typical 8-year-old pursuits, she’s well-liked by her teachers, coaches and peers.

There’s only one problem.

Olivia can’t read, spell or write very well.

Oh, wait, there’s another problem.  As determined in a recent special education evaluation, Olivia won’t be qualifying for her to get help in the form of an IEP.

You see, her score on an IQ test called the WISC-V came in at 91 (27th %ile) and her Composite Reading score was an 83 (13th %ile).

When the mom was told there wasn’t supporting evidence to generate an IEP, the mom was flabbergasted.

“Wait,” the mom said.  “My child reads at a level where about 90% of the children her age read  better than she does and she does not qualify for services?  How is that possible?  I think you’re telling me that Olivia is just not smart enough.  That is, if her IQ came in at 110 or 115, we’d be signing an IEP right now.”

There was no response to the mom’s statement.

Pull the curtain.

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022,

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“Rolling the Dice”

“Oh, my, my, my, I’m the lone crap shooter, playin the field every night.”  ‘Tumblin Dice,’ the Rolling Stones) In the last post we talked about kids who are “rudderless (see “Rudderless”).  This week we focus on the older ones, high school and college kids, who are...

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13-year-old Liam comes in trudging behind his mother, staring at his phone. While I think I have a decent relationship with Liam having evaluated him a while back with a follow-up session or two, I also think there's a pretty big part of him that is annoyed about...

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“Tipping the Scales”

  Some of you have been loyal followers of this blog for over 10 years, while others have joined more recently. If you've been one of the loyalists, you know  there are some themes that cycle through the blog posts.  While I do my best to keep these fresh,  after...

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“A Few New Disorders”

This week we turn our sights to a few disorders that may make it into the diagnostic manual upon its revision. The first is one  that I know I have very badly.  It's being called "PBD," or "Pushback Disorder."  PBD usually manifests when parents come in with theory...

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“Why Ask ”Why?” (Part I)

Brett, age 8, has difficulty behaving in his third grade class.  Frequently calling out, pushing on line and at times being rude to the teacher and other kids, his parents have been called in for the "meeting" to discuss Brett and his behavior. They are told by the...

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