Learning Disability Assessment

A Learning Disability Assessment is recommended when a young person who appears bright and shows good ability to learn, at least in some areas, struggles to learn and is showing academic difficulties.

What Is a Learning Disability?

Young people who have been diagnosed with a learning disability show at least average thinking, reasoning and problem solving ability. They will also show  neuropsychological processing strengths, and weaknesses. Any neuropsychological weaknesses they demonstrate are likely to contribute to problems learning, and inhibit the young person's ability to achieve to his academic potential. A statistical formula, based on the young persons' average to above average intellectual functioning levels, determines whether she or he is achieving at expected levels academically.

Based on  a learning disability assessment a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disability requires that the young person show at least average intellectual functioning levels. He will need to show difficulties achieving at expected levels academically, due to the neuropsychological processing weaknesses he showed on the learning disability assessment. These might include memory problems, or problems with verbal or non-verbal functioning or processing speed and/or executive functions.

Learning Disability Types

Learning Disabilities are associated with genetic and/or neurological factors that affect brain functioning, and can result in various weaknesses involving one or more of the neurocognitive processes associated with learning. These might include language difficulties, such as problems processing and comprehending language, or with verbal expression. Such children may also have been slow to acquire basic language skills.  

Other learning disabled children may show nonverbal learning difficulties on the learning disability assessment. These might include visual processing or discrimination weaknesses, or problems with visual spatial organization. or visual-motor tasks. They may have difficulty processing information in a timely and efficient manner. Executive functions and problems with attention and focus may also be at issue. These neuropsychological processing concerns interfere with the acquisition of  basic academic skills in reading, writing and/or math.  They can also interfere with a range of executive functions, such as  reasoning, problems solving, organization and planning. Attention. processing speed and memory problems may also be at issue.  

Due to their neuropsychological  processing weaknesses, these young people are likely to show, difficulty achieving to their potential academically.  Their academic skill levels are likely to fall below the norm and below expected levels based on ttheir average to above average  intellectual functioning levels.

A Learning Disability Assessment Can Help

Dr. O'Connor offers Psychological Assessments and School Neuropsychological Evaluations to help explore the young person's learning problems and to determine whether he or she meets the criteria for a Specific Learning Disability. Young people who have been diagnosed with a Specific Learning Disability by a registered psychologist, or other qualified psychological professional, and identified as an Exceptional Student are entitled to an Individual  Educational Plan (IEP). This plan will provide the young person with appropriate supports and accommodations to assist him or her with the school program.  

Dr. O'Connor's Psychological Assessments and School Neuropsychological Evaluations explore the various domains that are necessary to help determine whether the young person meets the criteria for a Specific Learning  Disability. This includes measures of cognitive functions to help determine the young person's levels of intellectual functioning. Testing is provided to determine the young person's levels of academic functioning across various measures of math, reading and written language. The goal here is to determine what are the levels of academic functioning that we would expect  based on the young person's levels of intellectual functioning.

If there are inconsistencies, and higher levels of academic functioning are expected, then Dr. O'Connor will explore the test results further. Her goal is to review the test results to help determine why the young person is showing below expected levels of academic functioning, based on his or her average to high average levels of intellectual functioning. Dr. O Connor will develop a hypothesis as to why this is occurring. She will then administer further neuropsychologlical processing measures to either confirm or disconfirm this hypothesis.

This information will be integrated into a full and comprehensive psychological report. This report which will include summaries of all test findings, including strengths and weaknesses, a diagnosis or diagnoses when appropriate, and interventions and recommendations to address any concerns that surfaced during the assessment or that were confirmed by it.

Learn more about Dr. O'Connor's psychological assessments and school neuropsychological evaluations and how thay can assist with a learning disability assessment.