Blog: School Struggles, Learning Disabilities & Other Kid Stuff

  • Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Franklin, age 8, can build wonderful Lego cities.  A creative and thoughtful child, he is also a wealth of information when it comes to anything about nature - he can talk about swamps like no one’s business.  The problem is Franklin is having trouble keeping up in school.   For him, completing worksheets, carrying out multiple-step tasks and performing any writing activities are a laborious and challenging process.

  • Friday, August 8, 2014

    It’s that time again.  Another summer slips away.  They just don’t make them like they used to.

    Soon you will be bombarded soon by all of “top tips for having your child to have a great school year.”  They will be in all of the magazines and the evening news.

    Even with the tips, that pit in your stomach will start to form with all of the concerns you have about 504 Plans, IEP’s, Common Core, and whatever else is lurking out there in school land.

  • Friday, August 1, 2014

    Every 10 years or so in education and psychology there is a trendy hot topic or new term that was essentially unheard of the previous decade. Before learning disabilities became a hot term in the 1970s, these were virtually unknown in the public. The same was true with ADHD, which became a hot term in the mid-1980s into the 1990s. (I know, I know, I am dating myself.)

  • Friday, July 25, 2014

    Many struggling kids have considerable trouble with facets of the language that many of us take for granted.

    Take Allison, age 8. One night Allison was told by her mother that her father was, “tied up in traffic.” Allison burst into tears. “Why is daddy being tied up?” she sobbed.

    It took her mother some time to explain to Allison that her father wasn’t actually being tied up and that this was an expression – a way of getting one’s point across with words that show picture images.

  • Friday, July 11, 2014

    Eli’s parents are concerned. They think that their twelve-year-old child lacks social skills, as they rarely see kids coming to the house or calling on the telephone. Eli, himself, seems not to be concerned. He thinks he has lots of friends and plays with them all the time.

    Eli's version of playing with his friends all the time and his parents’ version are quite different. To his parents playing meant going outside with a group of kids and engaging in some type of physical activity. They expect Eli to play for hours on end, based on memories of their own childhood.

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    When I ask parents of children who are struggling with reading what is being done to correct the problem, I frequently hear something like, “he’s getting in-class support.”  When pressed further to explain what remedial method is being used, I usually don’t get much of a response.

    Understand this, “in-class” support is fine for what it is.  But, you need to contrast “in-class” support with “direct instruction.”

  • Friday, June 27, 2014

    A father of a sweet 11-year-old girl came in to have her child evaluated this week.  By impression and observations, the girl, Katie, was on the innocent side of life.  She was still in the “Hello Kitty” phase, which was nice to see, given how fast and advanced many kids are that I meet at her age.

    Before we started the evaluation, the dad handed me a recent story that the child had to read and answer comprehension questions. In an incredulous tone, the dad said, “Here you go, Doc, let’s see what you make of this one.”

  • Saturday, June 21, 2014

    Once your child is reasonably down the road with the skills of decoding and reading fluency, the next stage emphasis is typically focused on comprehension. One of the underpinning skills of reading comprehension is the ability to apply the skill of “Hmm, let me think about it.”

    What does this skill mean?

  • Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Writing rubrics are familiar to most parents these days.  The rubrics are the criteria used to assess a range of writing skills for a child.

    Here’s a writing rubric that was handed to me recently for David, a child who I was going to assess.  On a four scale rubric, David was given a score.  As it turns out, David's score was the lowest level of functioning among four different criteria. 

    David was said to show the following in his writing:

  • Friday, June 6, 2014

    Try this experiment this weekend at your backyard family gathering.  Ask your Uncle Joe or Aunt Sue, what he or she knows about dyslexia.    I would predict that almost without exception, you will get something like, “Isn’t that when you read upside down and backward…or you reverse all those letters.”

    “No Uncle Joe, let me try and explain it better,” you may be tempted.

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