Reading Disability & a Confused Mom: Getting Clear on the Focus

October 30, 2015

There’s a lot in this business that gets me rolling my eyes. Too often when I talk to parents about what is going on with their child, I feel my cranky meter rising.

Take, Patricia, the mom of 7 year old Beth Anne.

Patricia plopped a stack of reports on my desk.

“Since she was 4, we’ve been on this mission to help her,” Patricia said. “She just isn’t making progress in reading and the gap is widening.”
“What have you done,” I asked.

“We first saw an OT (occupational therapist) who identified sensory issues and suggested we get Interactive Metronome Therapy. Then we heard about a person who administered special colored lenses for reading and someone else who suggested a different vision treatment. After that, an audiologist found central auditory processing disorder and recommended that we go to her office for a year of computer treatment to address the “auditory” issues. Then we saw a neurologist who wanted to put her on medication for ADHD. Really, my head is spinning and I don’t know what to do.”

“Has anyone suggested that they teach the child to read,” I asked.

“Not really,” she said. “I keep getting all of these treatment recommendations, but very few have said anything that makes sense regarding reading. I am really feeling overwhelmed by all of this and don’t know what direction to go.”

As I looked over the reports and recommendations, it was clear that Beth Anne needed sensible reading remediation.

If reading is the primary concern, then that should be the target of treatment/remediation.
To hit a tennis ball better, you wouldn’t go for swimming lessons. Why is reading any different? Reading is a skill that can be taught and practiced.

Professionals will see things from the window of their own specialty (e.g., auditory, visual, medical). The more narrow the window, the more narrow the recommendation.

Get clear on what you are remediating and why before you commit a significant amount of time and money.
Takeaway Point

If you are seeking treatment from different professionals, make sure you’re asking the professional exactly what the goals of the treatment are and how the program can deliver these goals.

Make sure you’re comfortable with whether your questions are being answered. Be certain that there is a match between your areas of concern in the program being recommended. Does the program pass the commonsense test? If it does not, you may want to think twice before proceeding.

Adapted: “School Struggles, “ Richard Selznick, Ph.D. (2012, Sentient Publications)

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All comments (4)
  • Susan Chavis
    November 09, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Very well said Dr. Selz!!!!

  • Luqman Michel
    November 11, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Excellent article. I too have seen parents who have tried a myriad of cures before they come to me and I start teaching the kids […] Read MoreExcellent article. I too have seen parents who have tried a myriad of cures before they come to me and I start teaching the kids to read and..... Doc, you mentioned common sense test. I have wondered what has happened to common sense for quite a long time. Read Less


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