The Shut-Down Learner

The Shut-Down Learner Book by Richard Selznick, Ph.D.

Shut-Down Learners can become very successful adults, if they are able somehow to get through school relatively unscathed. Typical Shut-Down Learner fields include architects, engineers, computer programmers, dentists, interior decorators, entrepreneurs and businessman, to name a few. There are many other fields that tend to attract shut-down learners, just as there are many adults with learning disabilities in the workplace.

“Without resorting to professional jargon, Dr. Selznick has created a resource for parents and teachers that promotes insight and understanding, relieves guilt, and provides strategies for intervention.” G. Emerson Dickman, J.D., President of the International Dyslexia Society

“There are so many books out there that tell kids and their parents what’s wrong with them. Finally, a book that speaks to their strengths.” — Carlo B. Melini, M.D.. FAAP, Clinical Associate, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Senior Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 

One of the worst feelings a child can have is being discouraged in school. The sense of hopelessness that pervades can become almost insurmountable. This is the emotional experience for the child called the “Shut-Down Learner.”

The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child describes a common, but poorly understood constellation of characteristics. Referred to in the book as “Lego kids” or “high spatial children,” such kids thrive with hands-on tasks that “load” on visual and spatial abilities. They excel in so many areas and have many academic strengths, yet when it comes to the core skills necessary for success in school, they are often quite lacking. This leads to the Shut-Down Learner, a child who is discouraged and disconnected relative to school. As a result, parents don’t know what to do. They become tense, frustrated, and frantic, feelings which lead to an equally tense and frustrated student. Many of these children have a specific learning disability, such as dyslexia.

The Shut-Down Learner offers hope and solutions for parents dealing with these frustrated students. Written in a friendly style that’s easily understood by parents without jargon or technical language, the book allows parents to understand their child’s characteristics, and offers specific approaches, academic interventions, and strategies for students who are shut down. The book’s intention is to support parents as they begin to break the downward spiral. 

Illustrations are included to help convey the issues facing Shut-Down Learners and the text has been reviewed by both parents of Shut-Down Learners and professionals in the field.