Learning disabilities are often only diagnosed once children begin to attend school, however, the signs can often be subtle. Both teachers and parents may begin to notice differences in the learning styles of children, however, challenges and behavioural differences can often go unnoticed. 

What is a Learning Disability?

Learning disabilities can range from mild to severe and are lifelong neurological disorders that can affect the brain’s ability to store or retrieve information. It is a broad term for any learning challenge in a specific area, such as reading, writing, or math. 

Children may interpret, remember, and communicate information in different ways and may struggle in a regular academic setting. Of course, a classroom is not the only place learning takes place, and learning disabilities may become noticeable in any setting in which your child is required to recall or apply something which has been taught. 

Does My Child Have a Learning Disability?

Unlike other forms of disabilities, learning disabilities are invisible and are often difficult to detect. Unfortunately, children can often be mistakenly labeled as lazy or lacking motivation when undiagnosed. It is important to observe your child throughout their development. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Was it easy for your child to learn to walk or talk?
  • Do they find it difficult to play quietly? 
  • Do they find it difficult to focus on their school work?
  • Does it take significantly longer for your child to learn something new?

It can be beneficial to speak with your child’s teacher to see if they too have noticed anything specifically that is a challenge for your child, both academically and behaviorally. 

Is It Time For a Learning Disability Assessment?

While some signs may be present, a definitive diagnosis can only be determined through a psycho-educational assessment. A learning disability assessment can be scheduled through your child’s school or through a private psychologist, such as our team here at Sharon Blott Psychological Services. 

A Psychoeducational assessment, or Learning Disability assessment, can help to identify the different learning styles a child may have. A typical assessment involves an initial intake appointment in which all background information is covered, the assessment process is planned, and consent is obtained from all legal guardians.  

In the second appointment, your child then participates in several tests including an intelligence test, achievement test, measures of memory, attention, and executive functioning, as well as adaptive functioning. 

A thorough report is provided within three weeks of completion of testing, with results discussed at a final feedback meeting. 

A typical Learning Disability Assessment will determine if your child struggles with any of the major categories of disability, including: 

  • Inaccurate or slow and effortful word reading (decoding) including dyslexia
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read (reading comprehension)
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Difficulty with written expression including dysgraphia
  • Difficulty mastering number sense, number facts, calculation, or math reasoning including dyscalculia

How Would a Learning Disability Assessment Benefit My Child?

Many children who struggle with learning disabilities are unable to communicate their challenges to teachers or parents and do not understand why they learn differently from their classmates or siblings. They can become frustrated, anxious, or depressed and may act out. This can have a detrimental effect on your child’s sense of self-worth or interest in school. A Learning Disability Assessment will provide you with insight into your child’s learning challenges, and will thus allow you to seek the support your child needs. Additional benefits can include:

  • A more focused learning environment 
  • Access to educational support at your child’s school
  • Access to additional funding   

Our Team is Here to Help. 

Many parents and children experience anxiety or frustration when a learning disability is left undiagnosed. Determining whether or not your child has a learning disability is the first step to providing them with the support they need to succeed. Our team specializes in providing high quality Learning Disability Assessments in a safe and supportive environment, and can ensure your child is on the path to receiving the tools for coping and successful learning. 

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