In the 500 or so blog posts that have been posted on the site, many of them receive comments.
As a change of pace, we offer some of the comments. In later blogs we will continue to share comments with you to get other voices – other perspectives on the issues
To a blog that was written some time ago, but recently reposted, #Comprehension: Often Forgotten in Dyslexia Land (https://shutdownlearner.com/comprehension-sometimes-forgotten-in-dyslexia-land/), was this comment from Mira:
“I see this all the time– Now that the focus has REALLY shifted to decoding and fluency– these kids are missing so much LANGUAGE! Comprehension and flexibility are lost. We have found we have to really work with kids to help them visualize — go back to fantasy and nursery rhymes. Thanks for recognizing that comprehension is sorely lacking– parents don’t recognize it either- as they are given lots of data on decoding.”
That comment made me think of an adolescent, I evaluated recently, 16 year old Catherine.
When it came to responding to basic factual questions such as “How many states are there in the United States,” or responding to questions of vocabulary, such as “What is a island,” Catherine was at a total loss. For the word “island” she said something vaguely like, “It has sand and mountains,” but could say little else even when prompted.
When Catherine’s reading was assessed, while her reading fluency was ok, she really had no idea how to respond to questions of the passages she had read. While the factual questions of the passages were managed (e.g., “How many people were in the family?”), when it came to anything involving an inference, such as answering a “why question” or drawing a conclusion from what she had read, she seemed fundamentally confused.
For Catherine who is planning on going to college, a great deal of work is needed in targeting her vocabulary and how to understand higher order thinking questions.
Then there was the comment from Stan, an educator himself, who commented on the post, “Challenging Our Assumptions” (https://shutdownlearner.com/challenging-our-assumptions/).
The theme of that post involved challenging statements we make all the time with a low-motivated child, such as “He’s just not trying – he just doesn’t care,” by trying to step-back and understand the emotional variables contributing to the low motivation.
As noted in Stan’s comment:
“There is a larger lesson here that applies to all of us, and especially to kids in school. One of the great negative motivators is “fear of embarrassment.” It’s the reason someone answers “I don’t know” to the question “What do you think?” If you say what you think, you risk being ridiculed because that thought is silly (or worse). It’s why students don’t ask clarifying questions in the classroom, lest the teacher or their fellow students make fun of the naivete of the question. Acknowledging this fear, and then working to overcome it, requires a community of supporters who cherish hearing what you actually think — and will not make you regret putting your true thoughts out into the world.”
In the summer, was the post, “The Diagnosis: Medication & Knowing the Limits”: (https://shutdownlearner.com/the-diagnosis-medication-and-knowing-the-limits/)
To that post a fellow psychologist, Dr. Steven Sussman, said the following:
“I am a psychologist specializing exclusively with kids and teens with “Disruptive Behavior Disorders.” Meds as you say can only help with focus… but before teaching them compensatory life skills/strategies…my experience is that I have to highly motivate the child first…to WANT to practice and master life/academic skills…otherwise they resist similarly to the way they resist their teachers, parents, coaches, etc.
Such kids need highly stimulating, exciting, and entertaining/humorous techniques to overcome their attention and concentration difficulties; particularly if they have AD/HD. Traditional therapy often fails them because it uses “auditory learning” techniques (questioning, explaining, verbiage, etc) when as you point out AD/HD kids tend to be “visual learners.” They need to learn through hands on, creative techniques that stimulate their senses and minds). Your work has influenced me greatly.” Sincerely, Steven Sussman, PhD Psychologist
When it comes to the challenges of getting kids to connect and “buy-in,” I could not agree more with Dr. Sussman’s comments.
Keep the comments coming folks! We really appreciate them.
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