Learning disabilities are disorders that affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. Although learning disabilities occur in very young children, the disorders are usually not recognized until the child reaches school age. Research shows that 8 to 10 percent of American children under 18 years of age have some type of learning disability. The challenge for the student and the family is quickly identifying the source of school-related challenges and then taking the necessary supportive steps to position the student for success. A key aspect of this process is learning disability testing.
Learning Disability Testing
Usually, a psychologist trained in assessing for specific learning disabilities will meet with the family and child to conduct an interview to determine the issues and concerns that are occurring so they can select test instruments to better evaluate for the noted areas of concern. At the broadest level, the psychologist will often administer both cognitive or IQ testing, such as the WISC (Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children), to determine the child’s general intellectual abilities. Then they administer an achievement test, such as the WRAT (Wide Range Achievement Test), to determine how the child is scoring relative to his or her peers in a variety of academic areas. If there is a significant gap between ability (IQ) and achievement, this suggests there is a specific learning disability occurring. Additional tests may be administered to better identify which type of learning disability a child is struggling with. From there a report is written for the family and the school detailing the type of specific learning disability that is occurring and what type of special education services or accommodations may be needed to facilitate greater success for the student. Most schools can provide specific learning disability testing to a family, however, there can often be a long waiting list, sometimes several months, due to the limited amount of time the school psychologist has to test students at a number of different schools.
Concerned that your loved one may have a learning disability? Do not rely on generic online assessments or inexperienced professionals when making critical decisions about mental health. For additional information, or to schedule an appointment, call us at 763-416-4167 or click here to get started.