A major premise of “The Shut-Down Learner” is that children who are struggling  by degrees become discouraged over time.

Effectively for these children the air leaks out of the tire and it becomes increasingly difficult to motivate them.

They shut down.

Since much of my professional life involves assessing children while trying to get parents on board to understand their child’s issues, I find myself trying to cut into notions that parents hold that have been told to them, which may or may not be fully accurate.

For example, parents will maintain the notion that for kids with reading, spelling and writing problems, a remedial provider “must be certified” in a particular methodology, such as Orton-Gillingham (O-G) or Wilson to work with their child.

To counter this, I have known many very good O-G and Wilson providers over the years who were very competent, yet were not certified in these methods. They likely attended training workshops exposing them to the methods and they have logged in lots of years working with children with the methods, but they did not go the distance in obtaining the certification, which is another level of time and financial commitment.

From my perspective, perhaps a more important question to ask is whether the person providing  the remediation can get the child  to “buy-in” sufficiently to have his/her battery recharged so the child connects enough to  benefit from the remediation.

To illustrate the point, let’s use the example of young Frankie, a 9 year old fourth grader who detests reading, spelling and writing.   To call Frankie discouraged would be a significant understatement.

In the middle of second grade, Frankie’s parents brought him to a certified O-G instructor for private sessions.  The instructor was very knowledgeable and competent, but for some reason Frankie did not “buy-in.”

There was no connection between them and Frankie’s battery was never recharged.

After about a year or so of this, the parents pulled Frankie from the sessions.

They then heard of a teacher who was known to be knowledgeable in the field of reading disabilities and had good experience, but was not certified in either O-G or Wilson.

They brought Frankie to her and for indefinable reasons, he bought in and connected.

Going forward, Frankie rarely complained going to sessions as he had vigorously done previously.

Regardless of how well-trained a therapist or remedial teacher is, unless there is legitimate connection with “buy-in” on an emotional level, very little will take place.

Of course, certifications are important, but the message is be cautious.

If I had to choose, between a letter perfect therapist/tutor who was highly credentialed/certified compared to one who is reasonably experienced in the method and can get the connection going with the child,  I’m going with the latter.

There is an intangible aspect with “buy-in.”  How and why it happens is beyond objective analysis.

When it comes to success for remedial instruction such as with O-G programs or even therapeutic methods treating anxiety and depression this intangible, “buy-in,” accounts for a significant percentage of what makes for success.

Copyright, 2020 www.shutdownlearner.com
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