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Teaching & Instruction

The following are past questions and answers from Dr. Larry Silver on this topic.

What can you do about programs that say they help LD, but lack evidence that they succeed?

I am concerned about programs like Brain Gym and Bal-A-Vis-X, which claim to be beneficial for children with learning disabilities, ADHD, behavioral disorders, and a whole host of other problems. These programs are being implemented in schools without a shred of controlled research to document such claims. Can anything be done to stop them?

I share your concern. The definition of a “controversial therapy” is either that: (1) there is no evidence to support the concept; (2) there is clear evidence to show that the concept does not work; or, (3) the concept is being used for financial gain before there is research to validate that the concept is correct. I believe that the programs you refer to fit definitions 1 and 3.

The problem is that if a parent has a child with a disability, he or she is vulnerable to anyone who says they can help or fix their child. Such parents are at risk for spending time and money and for putting their child through programs that will not accomplish what is stated. The organizations will not change. The best hope is to educate parents and to remind them, “the buyer beware.”

Would it help to have a 7 year old with LD repeat second grade so they can mature and become a better reader?

My son and daughter both have IEPs for speech and reading and have received special services since age three. Neither spoke until age three-and-a-half. Both are behind in reading and are just learning to sound out words. Both have solid average to slightly above average intelligence, according to standardized tests. Both do fine with math.

Our son has been labeled LD for reading, though our daughter is not much better at reading. This summer they will work with a reading teacher who uses the Reading Reflex program. In addition, both seem to us developmentally immature. Repeating won't solve problems, but it might buy us some time for them to mature and become better readers. What are your thoughts?



Repeating second grade might make sense ONLY IF they receive intensive special education services during this repeated year to address their disabilities. Otherwise, you may be in the same situation at the end of their second time through second.