To help parents better understand the issues with their kids, I have so  have so many expressions that I use that are in heavy rotation.

Among my favorite are the following two:

“It depends on whose doorstep you land on.”

“It all comes down to the lens through which you see things.

When it comes to the “doorstep with which you land,”  and the “lens through which you see things, understand that there are numerous “players” who may be involved with some aspect of  your child’s  struggling.

Some of these include

  • neurologists
  • pediatricians
  • child psychiatrists
  • psychologists
  • audiologists
  • optometrists
  • ophthalmologists
  • occupational therapists
  • speech/language therapists
  • holistic medical practitioners
  • organic food practitioners
  • educational specialists
  • tutoring centers
  • special education advocates
  • lawyers

(If I left you off this list and you are one of the “players” in this field,  I humbly apologize.)

The point in listing all of these is that even when practitioners are acting primarily in the child’s interests and not influenced by financial gain, it is hard not see the issues primarily through the perspective  of their particular profession or orientation.

In other words, the old axiom applies, “You go to a carpenter, you get a nail.”

Take, Liam  a somewhat drifty 8 year old who doesn’t read very well.  Liam’s parents are quite diligent and believe in leaving no stone unturned.  They have taken him to various professionals in the community.

As his mom noted, “We have been recommended a variety of therapies from diet to sensory interventions, cognitive-behavior-therapy and social skills groups.  There have been ‘train- the-brain’ programs, on-line reading programs, along with stimulant medication and at least 10 different apps, all of which are pay accessed.  I feel we have almost every body part in play.  I just want him to read better.”

When I hear stories such as this, I do my best to not be rolling my eyes or showing my consternation, neither of which are easy for me to do.

There is one basic solution to all of this.

First, start sensibly.

Decide what is it that you want to accomplish.  For example, if you want your child to learn how to play tennis better, would it make much sense if I told you to have him swim 10 laps a day for the next six months?

Of course not.

Therefore, stay as close to the skill that you are targeting and don’t go too far afield.

Second, try and find out if the recommendation being offered has reasonable research-backed support (with an emphasis on the word “reasonable”).

The world that I am in is not the most rigorous, scientifically speaking.  Sure there is decent research that has existed for decades on reading, learning disabilities,  ADHD, etc., but much of what takes place on a day-to-day basis is a combination of some research support for a given method, mixed in with a dose of “I believe…”

That is, when challenged as to why a particular method or approach is being used with the child, the answer is often something like, “Well, I’ve been doing this for a while and I believe it works for kids.”

Bottom line.

Make sure what is being recommended to you passes the “smell test.”

It has to make sense to you and should have decent research behind it.

Copyright, 2020
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(***  Please note: Dr. Richard Selznick is a psychologist, clinician and author of four books.  His blog posts represent his opinions and perspectives based on his years of interacting with struggling children, parents and schools.  He reminds readers that he is neither a scientist, nor a researcher.  The  advice in the blogs and in practice is governed by one overriding principle – “If this were my child, what would I do?”   The goal of the blogs and the website is to provide you with straight-forward, down-to-earth, no-nonsense advice and perspective to help cut through all of the confusion that exists in the field.)