How to Diagnose and Test Learning Disabilities
Identifying Learning Disabilities
Signs of learning disabilities vary greatly from child to child, but some common red flags in preschool children include difficulty pronouncing words, problems finding the right words, difficulty learning routines and difficulty rhyming. These children may also have trouble using zippers, shoelaces and buttons, and they might have a hard time learning the alphabet, numbers and the days of the week.
Children ages 5 to 9 may confuse basic words while reading, consistently misspell words, have trouble telling time and experience difficulty learning connections between sounds and letters. Children ages 10 to 13 may dislike reading and writing, have poor handwriting and have poor organization skills. A highly intelligent child can still have a disorder.
Testing for Learning Disabilities
If you recognize any signs of a learning disability or if your child is behind on developmental milestones, bring him to a qualified professional for testing. Depending on the child's area of difficulty, he may receive tests to assess motor skills, language, processing, reading or writing. He may also receive tests for math, intelligence or behavior. Some common tests include the Scholastic Reading Inventory, the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, the Gray Oral Reading Test and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Some tests may include a number of subtests, and the child's age may determine the types of tests he receives.
Making a Diagnosis
Even if you believe you know what type of learning disorder your child has, receiving a proper diagnosis is crucial as it can help you get your child the help he needs. Professionals who can diagnosis a learning disorder include school psychologists, clinical psychologists, child psychologists, developmental psychologists and educational psychologists. Neuropsychologists, psychometrists, speech and language therapists, and occupational therapists may also be involved in making a diagnosis. Your mental health professional is likely to gather feedback from teachers to make the most accurate diagnosis.
Learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysphasia and dyspraxia often have a negative effect on children's school performance, skill development and self-esteem. If your child is struggling in school, proper testing and diagnosis can help you identify your child's disorder so you can work with the school system to facilitate better learning. Identify the common signs of learning disability, and visit a qualified health care professional if you, your child or your child's teachers believe he may have a disorder.
If your child is diagnosed with a learning disorder, there is hope through neuroplasticity, the concept that affirms the brain's ability to change. With the right brain exercises and treatments, it is possible for your child to overcome his disorder. However, even traditional coping strategies can help your child learn effectively.