Monthly Archives: January 2017

How to Identify “Shut-down” learners: What parents need to know

 Struggles in school?  See the following article from the Greatschools website, about kids who are struggling at school 

 The article notes that “Shut-down learners are children who become academically discouraged and disconnected from school over time”.  The early warning signs range from academic issues, such as “dislike of reading” or “hatred of writing” to more behavioral and emotional manifestations such as “increasing anger toward school” or “a sense that the child is increasingly disconnected, discouraged, and unmotivated”.

 Seven points are noted for parents to help prevent shut-down learners:

1.       Trust your gut

2.      Know what you are targeting

3.      Take the heat out of the interaction

4.      Turn down the [emotional] temperature

5.      Find someone to connect with and mentor your child in school

6.      Maintain a sense of equilibrium

7.      Support your child

Is your child showing any signs of shutting down?  Trust your gut!   Then, get support for you and your child.  The first step might be a consultation with an educational services provider like ILD:

At ILD, here’s what you might expect at an initial consultation: You will meet with a psychologist, educational specialist, or language specialist to review their child’s educational background and developmental history, and to find out the main concerns.  This consultation is the first step to understanding their child’s unique situation and is the beginning of a relationship with the whole family.  You’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire to bring to the meeting, along with other relevant information, such as report cards and samples of student work.  Your concerns will be heard, specific questions will be addressed, and suggestions will be made for next steps.

Outside support, in collaboration with your child’s team at school, can also help you through the process of understanding your child’s needs and targeted strategies to help your child succeed.   A full service provider includes psychologists, as well as reading & math specialists, speech-language therapists, learning disability specialists, and executive function coaches.

Check out ILD’s full range of services, including comprehensive neuro-psychological assessments, remedial instruction, strategy instruction (educational therapy), executive function coaching, and counseling:


Help for parents to avoid the back-to-school slump after winter vacation!     

In this New York Times Parent-Teacher Conference blog, Jessica Lahey  noted 7 tips to help parents deal with the “January humdrum”:

 1.       Reassess rules

2.       Talk about work space and study habits. 

3.       Check in on long-term projects. 

4.       Make reading a part of your daily life. 

5.       Set new goals. 

6.       Get outside. 

7.      Give in to the season. 

 As you read Jessica’s tips, keep in mind some of the key executive function skills needed to succeed at school and in life such as Goal setting, Thinking flexibly, Organizing, Memorizing, Self-correcting.  Each of these helpful tips reminds us of the importance of executive function skills in school and at home.  For each of Jessica’s tips, there is an executive function connection.   Executive function processes are a part of every goal-oriented behavior in school and out of school! 

 ·         Following  rules requires working memory and  self-monitoring. 

·         Cleaning up a work space requires children to break down big tasks into smaller ones, and organizing materials or time.

·         Studying and completing long-term projects involves planning and time management.  

·         Reading is a complex process which includes decoding, as well as remembering, organizing and synthesizing.    

·         Setting reasonable goals requires self-reflection, thinking into the future, planning how to achieve those goals in small steps, and self-monitoring.

·         Lastly, the need to get outside and give in to the season is so important for all kids, but especially those who struggle with attention, learning and executive function difficulties.  Physical movement and time spent with activities they enjoy are crucial. Children with learning differences work harder than others to self-regulate and cope with changing schedules throughout the year! 


If your kids are struggling to get back to school after the holiday, they may need extra help.  Check out ILD’s full range of services, including executive function coaching, educational therapy, and neuro-psychological assessments: