Monday, July 5, 2010

The blind man and the elephant: (Disecting childhood)

 The following article is from Dr.Selznick's blog. It is about a mother who was recommended a different "remedy" each by various  "experts" she had  gone to seek advice from for her daughter who had trouble reading.

"It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
Though all of them were blind,
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind."
The above comes from the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. A group of blind (or men in the dark) touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one touches a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. Of course, each describes the elephant quite differently from their perspective.
Sometimes I feel like we are doing the same with children.  Different professionals will identify a certain part of the “elephant” and recommend a treatment from that point of view.
Recently a mum came in to discuss her very pleasant, but struggling 8 year old daughter, Samantha, who had seen many professionals over a two year period.
“So, what was recommended?” I ask.
“Since kindergarten we’ve been on this two year mission to help her,” the mum said.  “She just isn’t making progress in reading and the gap is widening. We first saw an OT who felt there were “sensory issues.”  She felt Sam should get Interactive Metronome therapy.
Then we read about special coloured lenses for reading and found a person in NY who specializes in tinted lens treatment, which she recommended for Samantha.
An audiologist then found a central auditory processing disorder and recommend that we go to her office for a year’s computer treatment to address the “auditory issues.” 
The neurologist we saw wants her on medication. 
Dietary supplements and spinal manipulation were recommended by the chiropractor. 
Then there was the “train the brain” program offered at the nearby learning centre.
I really have no idea what to do and am overwhelmed by all of this.  I just want her to learn how to read better. ”
If reading is the primary concern, then Sam’s mother should seek good reading instruction.  It’s common sense. To hit a tennis ball better, you wouldn’t go for swimming lessons.  Why is reading any different? It’s a skill that can be taught and practised.  Maybe dissecting the elephant so much is not that helpful.
For lesson 48 click here:

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