Follow-up with Dr. Yellin
The expert lecture with Dr. Yellin was wonderful! He gave a lovely,intimate presentation in our center in March. If you have a chance to hear him,go! In fact,you could probably get him to come speak at your school or parent group. He is my go to guy when faced questions about learning and the brain. Here’s my summary of the night:
Dr. Yellin trained as a neonatologist,but when his own child starting experiencing difficulties in school his career took an unexpected turn. He and his wife took their son to many many professionals in New York to get some answers as to why their son was having such a struggle. One of Dr. Yellin’s goals is to create a conceptual framework and vocabulary that can cross barriers between professionals,educators,and families so we can use a common language to describe what is really happening in the brain when something is working or not working. This can be especially helpful for teachers. Paul showed us a few slides of typical test items found on state wide standardized tests. He illuminated for us how the way a question is written and the information is presented taxes different types of skills,sometimes having little or nothing to do with the actual content.
When Dr. Yellin first meets students he demystifies (tells it straight) their situation by informing the client that no brain is perfect and how different weaknesses in the brain can affect school work. In school,assignments given to students require skills like reading and writing. Those skills can be broken down into smaller sub-skills for example reading can be broken into scanning,decoding,and comprehension. These sub-skills can be broken down further to what the Yellin Center for Mind,Brain,and Education (http://www.yellincenter.com) calls Neurodevelopmental Constructs including:attention,higher order cognition,language,memory,neuromotor function,social cognition,spatial ordering,and temporal-sequential ordering. So many things could go wrong when simply trying to read or write,it’s a wonder that so many students barely notice all that’s going on inside their heads. He talked a little about Processing Controls which are ways of regulating the use of incoming information. For example Saliency Determination helps us to know important facts vs irrelevant facts. While reading (and listening) we constantly have to decide if facts are part of the big picture,and or if we should just disregard the minutia. He also discussed how stress and sleep deprivation lead to poor school performance.
What would you do???
I asked Dr. Yellin the following questions:
Look forward to the answers to the following questions………………
What would you do if you had a pre-school aged child who did not get into any of the private schools Pre-K programs and is wait listed at the local public school because there are only 6 spots open?
What do you do when your private school child who scored very well on the ERB for Kindergarten but is struggling to keep up with first grade academics?
What would you do if you had a 5th grader at what is considered the best private special ed school in the city,but don’t feel like he’s being targeted or remediated much? He’s been tested,tutored,remediated from outsiders as well. He’s just kinda getting by with low level output,and his learning is somewhat flat.
What would you do if you had a high school teenager with dyslexia,who has been through years of successful tutoring and remediation,and currently thriving in a Brooklyn private school. He wants to go to college but does not have extended time accommodations for the SAT or ACT?